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MRS FISHER 

OR 

THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

For a full list of this Series see the end 
of the Book. 



MRS FISHER 

OR 
THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 



ROBERTA 

Aitfftbr of "Lars Porsena, or The Future of 
Swearing", etc. 4 



estis, vos estis, that Is to saye, c : 
you be, you be. And what be 
you ? " sayd Skelton. " I saye that 
you bee a sorte of knaves, yea, %D& 
a man might say worse than knavfes 
and why I shall show you/' 

Merrie Tales of Skelton, Tal^ Vll 



, ;:;' LONDON" '/,/ 

KEGAN PAUL, jrfEENCH, TRTONER & CO,, LTD. 
NEW YO'K ; E. P. DUT^ON & Co, 

' - ;, 1928 ./ / 



First Published - - October, 1928. 
Second Impression - November, 1928. 



IV" "" 
C: '".. 



L'< ; >J 



MRS FISHER ^ 
O 
OR, THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

There are few even of the less obvious 
problems in the encyclopedia of predic- 
tion that have not been confidently 
settled in the last few months by someone 
or other in one way or the other. Yet 
the most important problem of all, the 
master-problem conditioning all the rest, 
has been everywhere avoided. The 
futures of Xylography, of Yiddish, of 
the Zebra : these are suggestive and even 
exciting titles. But the gap shows only 
the more plainly with each new prediction. 
Like the hundred-yard gap that once 
appeared menacingly in the Roman Forum 
and the soothsayers said that someone 
must piously leap in and close it and 

[5] 



MRS FISHER 

one Mettus Curtius, a Roman Knight, 
leaped in with horse and armour and the 
earth closed above him and he was never 
heard of again. Hell and farewell. 

Why I am playing Mettus is that I 
really don't care any more than Mettus 
did whether I am heard of again. Other 
writers do. That is why they hold back 
and pretend that the gap is not there, 
and temporize with Nuto, the future of 
Nutting ; Nitor, of Knitting ; Netora, 
of Netting ; Notorius, of Knotting ; 
and Nugae Bugae of Noughts and Crosses. 
The difficulty about the Future of Humour 
is, of course, that if the writer does his 
job conscientiously his examples of 
the humour of the future will be con- 
sistently not-yet-funny and therefore 
altogether implausible ; so he will forfeit 
his claim to a sense of humour in the 
present. If, on the other hand, he 
remains a humorist of the present his 

[6] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

readers will complain that he has not 
conscientiously revealed the future. When 
Mettus Curtius leaped into the gap he at 
once became a type of tragic courage. 
He was not even given the alternative 
of trying to leap across it (though certainly 
if one is in sufficient haste and desperation 
it is possible to cross any chasm in safety, 
simply by assuming, with all the humour- 
lessness of faith, a bridge that is not there). 
The gap had to be filled. He remains a 
type of tragic courage and tragedy is 
too single-minded for humour -or of 
" unconscious humour ", which is, if any- 
thing, less intrinsically humorous than 
faith. The joke is always on Mettus, 
but that does not matter to Mettus, 
since it is his own joke and he put it 
there for reasons of his own. 

Here at least are two paragraphs wasted 
in so-called brilliant and provocative 
writing. Now let me go on slowly, 



MRS FISHER 

and contradict myself generously, and be 
altogether unsystematic, for humour's 
sake, and be dull, for your own sakes. 
For if you cannot at some point of the 
book pause and find it dull, you will 
think yourselves dull. And it is your 
sense of hunxour that is on trial, not mine. 
I have publicly thrown mine into the 
gap. In this context I will record that 
the happiest half-hour of my life was 
once when put by accident for some weeks 
in the company of thirty or forty men 
whom I detested and who detested me, 
I decided finally to entertain them, from 
the Saturday-night stage. There were 
two possible results. Either I might 
really have amused them so extremely 
that our mutual detestation would have 
made a beautiful moment of it for us 
all, or I might have bored them extremely, 
and the joy of boring people whom one 
detests under pretence of amusing them 

[8] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

is more beautiful still because entirely 
one's own. I succeeded in boring them, 
though honourably (for humour's sake) 
trying to amuse them. And they tried 
to conceal their boredom and detestation, 
as gentlemen, by a little perfunctory 
clapping. So I sang one more song, 
pretending to be flattered, and they 
rewarded me by not clapping that one 
at all. 

The future of humour is not to be 
discussed in the sort of way that one 
discusses the future of medical research 
or mechanical invention. Humour, it 
must be said at once, is first of all a 
personal matter, losing its virtue by 
diffusion. One cannot make predictions 
about personal matters, only about 
diffusion, Humour in diffusion concerns 
ideas in diffusion and people and things 
in diffusion. It is type-humour ; about 
Scotsmen, and Fishermen, and Marriage, 

[9] 



MRS FISHER 

and Widows, and Worms. It is only 
funny occasionally when all its comic 
ingredients are gathered up in a compact 
tansy-cake as a missile against itself. 
As, for instance, in the story, " There 
once was a Scottish fisherman who married 
a widow with worms/' Type humour 
will continue with this civilization to 
confirm changes of fashion in dress and 
dancing and politics, and new discoveries 
and inventions. But jokes about steam- 
engines in 1840 and telephones in 1870 
and motor-cars in 1900 and broadcasting 
in 1920 have been of exactly the same 
stupid brightness as jokes about teledromy 
are going to be in 2040 and about 
pyrobatics in 2070 and about the alarming 
moechomechanistic series of 2090. These 
jokes of the future will be less crudely 
mechanical in form as the new discoveries 
tend to be less crudely mechanical, but 
they will not be intrinsically more 

[10] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUtf /> 

humorous. They will still be tagged on 
to Scotsmen, and fishermen, and marriage, 
and widows, and worms, and they will 
merely confirm the popular acceptance 
of scientific facts resembling in spurious 
novelty all previous scientific facts ; 
which is not the future of humour except 
in a mere time-sense. 

Much of the future of humour is in 
the past. For instance, Blake's Island 
in the Moon. It is still personal, not 
diffused humour, and the out-of-dating 
of its topical references makes it still 
more of the future. Blake's biographers 
apologize for it on the ground that 
genius is irritable and the age was coarse. 
I doubt whether even in a hundred years' 
time its humour will be diffused. Why 
should it be, though Blake-worship con- 
tinues as strong as ever ? Think of 
London a hundred years' hence and 
ask yourself whether what Miss Gittipin 



MRS FISHER 

sang will appear anything out of the 
ordinary. There is every reason to believe 
that in 2028 the lodging-houses and private 
hotels of Kensington and Bloomsbury 
will still be standing and their furniture 
inside them, and that there will still be 
periodic revivals of roller-skating at 
Holland Park, and Salvation Army 
meetings every Sunday at Hyde Park 
Corner, and ape-teaparties in the Experi- 
mental House at the Zoological Gardens, 
and the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company 
still touring the suburbs, and the Country- 
man's Diary still running in the Daily 
Mail, and the centenaries of famous 
musicians coming round again for celebra- 
tion, and the yearly Stock Exchange 
Sweep, and the Roman Emperors in a 
row to the left as you enter the British 
Museum, and St Thomas* Hospital 
collecting tin-foil, and Johnny Walker 
still going strong, and another twenty 

[12] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

volumes being added to The Library of 
Great Detective Stories. Set those against 
your teledromy and your pyrobatics 
and your most alluring moecho- 
mechanisms ! There's a future for you ! 
I am getting depressed already. Exactly 
how depressed I am I shall show by 
giving a few random and entirely jokeless 
cuttings from the daily press of 2028 : 

MYSTERIES OF THE BRAIN 

Sir, Referring to the letter, 
" Mysteries of the Brain/' I had a 
remarkable and, I think, beautiful 
experience. 

Some lines of Browning flitted 
through my mind, and I could not 
recollect which of his poems they were 
in. It was a Sunday afternoon and 
I lay down for a rest. 

Then in a dream a scroll was unrolled 
and in gold letters perpendicularly, 

[13] 



MRS FISHER 

not horizontally as would one expect 
was spelt out letter by letter the word 
" Paracilsus " Twice I have had 
astronomical problems made clear to 
me in this way, 

F. L. BL (Budleigh Salterton). 

# * * 

ABBEY ENLARGEMENTS 

It is likely, I hear, that any proposed 
additions to existing structures at 
Westminster Abbey will be submitted 
for the public's opinion by contemporary 
canvas and plaster full-size erections 
in situ, with painted scenic effects, so 
that a precise view may be obtained 
of what the scheme implies. 

The idea is good. Technical designs 
and plans convey very little to the 
uninitiated, and photographs are fre- 
quently misleading. 

# # * 

[14] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

YOU HAVE SEEN ROSE MARIE IN LONDON 
AND NEW YORK. SEE IT AGAIN IN 
PARIS AT THE THEATRE HOGADOR. 

(Adv.) 

* sje * 

WHAT CONSTABLE FOUND 

P.c. Double, in evidence, stated that 
at the scene of the accident he found 
a badly damaged Buick motor-car and 
also a motor-cycle and a woman's 
bicycle. Later he went to Pampisford 
and interviewed prisoner's wife and 
rosinore, who made a vountary state- 
ment. When charged at the police- 
station he said, " It is absurd/* 

The magistrates remanded prisoner 
on 200 bail. 

sfc a&e # 

FINANCIAL NOTE 

The discerning investor will be aware 
that Victory Bonds have this out- 
CIS] 



MRS FISHER 

standing advantage over other Govern- 
ment issues, that they are accepted 
at face-value in payment of death- 
duties. 

* * sft 

BLACK WEDDING RINGS 
To the Editor 

Sir, I should like to support the 
suggestion of your correspondent that 
black rings should be worn as a sign of 
widowhood. 

Would it not be desirable, for many 
reasons, that some permanent and easily 
visible mark of status should be worn, 
and if necessary made compulsory, 
in the case of every man and woman ? 

(Mrs) Harriet E. Trimble. 
# * 

PITH BATH DEATH MYTH 

No further development reported 
to-day. 

[16] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY 
CORRESPONDENT 

House of Commons, Wednesday. 

The Solicitor-General moved the 
adoption of the new book in a speech 
which showed great industry of research 
and was prolific in detail, but lacked 
emotion. 

Cheers and counter-cheers, pregnant 
with feeling, greeted his points. His 
appeal was to the intellect rather than 
to passion, but members listened with 
rapt attention. He said of Reserva- 
tion that it had been technically illegal 
but not doctrinally wrong. 

Padres who had never previously 
done so made reservation during the 
recent War. The elements were con- 
secrated in battery or battalion head- 
quarters and carried under the padres' 
gas-helmets and administered in the 

[17] 



MRS FISHER 

front line to men who were In greater 
peril than any in hospital. 

Were those padres going to give up 
a practice which had such sacred associa- 
tions for them ? 



MAN WITH 14 SONS 

A man at Willesden Police Court 
to-day. I have 14 children alive, all 
boys, 

The magistrate* You are a credit to 
your King and Country. 

# * * 

FASHION NOTE 

Among next year's fashionable shades 
for women's silk stockings will be the 
following : Sombrero, Banana, Rose 
Nude, Blossom, Flesh, Nude, Peach, 
Evenglow, French Nude, Blush, Sun- 
burn, Mirage, Champagne, Suntan, 

[18] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

Woodland Rose, Irish Mauve, Pigeon 
Breast, Gazelle, Rose Mauve, Oak, Gun 
Metal. Also Black and White. 



EX-LESBIAN PATRIARCH FINED 

Fines amounting to 12 were inflicted 
by the Isle of Wight bench yesterday 
in the case of Johann Michelopoulos, 
55, an enemy alien, described as a 
former Patriarch of the Island of 
Lesbos, who was convicted both of 
failing to notify the Police of his 
change of residence and of keeping 
a male servant, namely, a gardener, 
without a licence. [Lesbos is a famous 
island in the -<Egean Sea remembered 
as the home of the poetess Sappho. 
Its present population is 3,500.] 



[19] 



MRS FISHER 

Humour in that sort of future will be 
much more carefully organized than it is 
now. It will be protected under the 
revived Safeguarding of Industries Act 
as a key-industry employing so many 
hundreds and thousands of workers. 
There will be no more haphazard joke- 
making or joke-stealing. As soon as 
anyone thinks of a good one, he or she 
will immediately apply to the Board of 
Humour (organized on B.B.C. lines) for 
a copyright certificate. If not already 
recorded, the joke, however unpromising, 
will be registered and a stamped certificate 
issued, on payment of sevenpence. If 
the joke is then officially graded as 
" popular jest, topical, subheads A, C 
or D ", it will be claimable by the Board 
for circulation in the Daily Humorous 
Gazette, on payment to the author of a 
sum not exceeding five shillings. If 
graded in any other way, the joke will 

[20] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

remain the property of the author, 
who will be permitted to print it com- 
mercially. But no jokes will be publish- 
able without a certificate, duly stamped, 
nor utterable, except at the Board of 
Humour, until published. Family jokes 
of a personal kind will be excepted from 
this ban. " Controversial " or indecent 
jokes will not be subject to registration, 
but will not be publishable. 

The Board will employ an enormous 
staff for sorting and refining new material 
and putting it into official form for 
registration. It will probably be found 
convenient to catalogue the national 
output not by an alphabetical system 
but rather by " degrees of humour ". 
These degrees will be systematized by 
extended use of the cinema laugh- 
recording apparatus (already used in 
California for gauging the value of 
comedies) ; jokes of different characters 
[21] 



MRS FISHER 

will be tested on standing audiences 
consisting of Board officials graded 
according to the keenness of their senses 
of humour. On the whole the Board of 
Humour will be popular though there 
will always be a certain dissatisfaction 
among the junior officials of the Board 
itself that the sense of humour is deter- 
mined entirely by seniority and not by 
routine efficiency and general merit. 

A famous Merton Professor of English 
Literature at Oxford used to say that 
there were forty-three recognizable degrees 
of humour. He began with (1) laughter at 
deformities, (2) the rapidly drawn-away 
chair, (3) cheese, (4) mothers-in-law, (5) 
people without a sense of humour ; and 
so on up to the forty-third degree which 
was " God ". To a man with a complete 
sense of humour that was the purest 
joke of the lot. Here, I think, the 
professor was wrong: to laugh at God 

[22] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

after passing degree 42 (which, if I 
remember, was " Shakespeare ") is to 
make a bad throw at the finish of the 
snakes-and-ladders game and so slide 
back to degree 5. For God has no sense 
of humour and that's all the humour there 
is to the matter. The Greek Gods were 
a different case ; they could at least 
laugh at deformities. They shook with 
unquenchable laughter when they saw 
the crippled Hephaestus hobbling across 
the floors of Olympus. It was merry 
in the Hall when beards wagged all. But 
Jehovah did not even join with the 
children in laughing at the good bald 
prophet, and the one reasonable slap- 
stick joke in the New Testament, ts the 
whole herd of swine ran violently down 
a steep place into the sea and was choked/' 
is, Higher Criticism agrees, entirely un- 
intentional. Perhaps by God the Pro- 
fessor meant the philosophical Tory God 

[23] 



MRS FISHER 

preached from Cathedral pulpits and 
University chairs of Ethics : that certainly 
is a joke in a higher degree than 
Babylonian Jehovah. And the newly 
discovered evolutionary Liberal God is a 
joke beyond that because he is not quite 
so gentlemanly. 

There are, obviously, type-jokes funnier 
than the most up-to-date sociological 
interpretation of God ; but the 2028 
Board of Humour will certainly reject 
them as controversial* For instance, 
" The French " is much funnier ; honestly, 
I think it is much funnier. It is at least 
far less diffused than " Shakespeare ". 
For every ten wags who parody Shake- 
speare there is hardly one who will not 
take the French dead seriously. There 
is no question here of degree 5 (I would 
very carefully not reduce the joke to 
that). The case is something like this: 
suppose that the intelligence of the French 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

can be denoted by the algebraic sign 6, 
then their humour 1 can be denoted by 
the same algebraic sign 6 and not by 
the sign 8, or 2 . Nor, of course, because 
they eat frogs and snails and gesticulate, 
nor even because they do not really 
eat frogs and snails or gesticulate ; nor 
even because after all they do in fact 
eat frogs and snails and gesticulate, 
but because, as Swift (I think) first 
discovered in surprise, " Even the little 
children in France speak French ! " And 
are French. If one has to elaborate 
the joke any further than that even merely 
by saying, " Spend a week-end in Paris 
and see/' it is no joke. For the joke 
is just " The French ". People with 
uncomfortably symmetrical minds or 
nervous people afraid of being accused 
of limited humour might suggest that 

1 Tons, tons, sauf Francois Rabelais, 
Et lui, il n'6tait que frangais. 

[25] 



MRS FISHER 

there is a correspondingly rich joke, 
" Les Anglais/' This is not so. Though 
we English do say Goddam and eat 
roast beef and have prominent teeth like 
the Montmartre stage-Englishman, or 
though we don't really, or though after 
all we do, there is no high spiritual joke 
" Les Anglais " " Les Anglais >J is only 
a French mistranslation of a stale and 
pointless joke, " The English/' made by 
the same wags who make a living by 
parodying Shakespeare ; whose intelligence 
is 6-x and whose humour is Q-% and who 
therefore wish the aggregate national 
intelligence and the aggregate national 
humour to be like the French. The 
joke is, in fact, on the French again. 

Beyond "The French" in the ideal 
academic scale (for, as I say, practical 
academic humour will stumble over " The 
French ") will be found further degrees. 
For instance, Absolute Nothing, People, 

[26] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

the Caterpillar on the leaf that reminded 
Blake of his Mother's grief, Literature, 
Value, and other concepts including 
" Degree " and " Concept ". Possibly, 
but here I am on difficult ground, the 
ultimate degree is Humour itself. I will 
say simply that I do not know. And 
slide back easily to the comfortable 
past of humour. 

" Why can a tramp never starve in 
the desert ? " 

" Because of the sandwiches there/* 

" How did the sandwiches get there ? " 

" Ham and his descendants bread and 
mastard there/" 

" Is that all, grandfather ? Is that all, 
grandfather ? " 

" No, no, darling, Lot's wife turned 
to a pillar of salt and all the family butter 
disappeared into the wilderness/' 

Pooh I And, can you tell me Why 
the hypocrite's eye, can better descry, 

[27] 



MRS FISHER 

than you or I, upon how many toes, 
the pussy cat goes ? Ah, The Man of 
Deceit, can best counterfeit, and so I 
suppose, can best count her toes." 

Arrange those under glass-cases among 
the peacocks' feathers and blue Bristol 
glass and early Picassos and the products 
of the Omega work-shop and other 
antiques. And, at a gathering of first- 
class passengers only, inquire through 
a megaphone : " How does a traveller 
who is going to the East, but who dreads 
the Bay of Biscay and mal-de-mer yet 
does not know how to avoid them, 
resemble a first-class passenger going 
west with his wife on a Cunard liner, 
who cannot understand why his mother- 
in-law has insisted on accompanying 
them ? ' ' And then wait for the gigglingly 
lisped answer : " Because he doesn't 
know via Marseilles." And again, " Why 
is an old-fashioned chimney like a 

[28] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

swallow ? " " Because it has a crooked 
flue." Correct* Please understand that 
I am offering you a bright suggestion, free. 
Start the vogue, and for a season at least 
return the future of humour to the early 
Crinoline age and capitalize it in a Jest 
Book, signed, Beatitiful Jokes by Beautiful 
People! For Vos estis. You be, 

To show how little I care for you all and 
your jealously cultivated senses of humour, 
I will write out the story of Toltoe. 

Toltoe was a Greek maiden, daughter 
of Cleombrotos of Samos and married 
to a king of the Royal Scythians, Bodonus 
by name. Now the Royal Scythians 
count it a disgrace to wash themselves 
with water. When therefore some of 
the maidens of the Scythians observed 
Toltoe how she washed herself in the 
Greek manner by the riverside, they 
reported the matter to the King. The 
King sent his honourable ladies to inquire 

[29] 



MRS FISHER 

of Toltoe why she washed with water 
and did not use Scythian plasters. 

Toltoe replied : " My mother and father 
were "both trick-divers and I was begotten 
six fathoms under the water." 

The honourable ladies took back this 
answer to King Bodonus, who heard it 
but sent them again to Toltoe to ask 
why her parents had done this thing. 

Toltoe replied : " For honour to 
Neptune/* 

This answer did not fully satisfy 
Bodonus, either, who sent to inquire 
why they honoured Neptune thus. 

Toltoe answered the third time that 
it was because they were Samians and 
islanders, thinking to end the questioning. 
But Bodonus was still unsatisfied. . . . 

As not one of you guessed, it is an 
imitation of The Mr Wyndham Lewis 
jealously trying to satirize Mr D. B. 
Wyndham Lewis writing a humorous 

[30] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

satire on Herodotus on the middle page 
of the Daily Mail for the benefit of readers 
who have never read Herodotus but are 
insured against accidents in the home 
and making it a little too like Herodotus. 
I have therefore been forced to let it be 
dull. That is bucolic humour : meaning 
not-funny to the power of not-funny. 
It is a regrettable aspect of the real 
future of humour. Had I been less 
strict I would have ended with : 

" . , . Oh, but I misheard you/' 
said Bodonus, laughing heartily, " I 
thought you said truck divers ! " 

Moral. What it is to be a near- 
Eastern politician ! 

Then you would have recognized it, 
and* it would not have been the future 
of humour. 

I shall pass on to my Danish Grand- 
mother, and write a few much easier pages. 
For, as I said, before, Vos estis. You be, 

[31] 



MRS FISHER 

My Danish Grandmother had three 
bucolic sayings and one joke. From 
the three sayings it should, I suppose, 
be possible to plot the perfect sphere of 
her mind and so appreciate the one joke. 
The first of the sayings was : " Children, 
I beg you, as your grandmother, never 
to swing objects around in your hands. 
The King of Hanover put out his eye by 
swinging a bead purse/' 

Grandmother herself always carried a 
bead-purse. The second saying was like 
the first : " Children, I beg you, as a 
grandmother, to be careful when you 
carry your candles up to bed. The 
candle is a little cup of grease/' The 
third always puzzled me. " There was 
a man once, a Frenchman, who died of 
grief because he could never become 
a mother/' As for the story, it was 
told in candle-light every Sunday 
evening. 

[32] 



THE F'UTU&E OF H'UMOUfi 

" There was once a peasant family 
living in Schleswig-Holstein, where they 
all have crooked mouths, and one night 
they wished to blow out the candle. 
The father 's mouth was twisted to the left, 
so ! and he tried to blow out the candle, 
so ! but he was too proud to stand 
anywhere but directly before the candle, 
and he puffed and he puffed but could not 
blow the candle out. And then the mother 
tried, but her mouth was twisted to the 
right so ! and she tried to blow so ! 
and she was too proud to stand any- 
where but directly before the candle, and 
she puffed and puffed but could not blow 
the candle out. Then there was the 
brother with mouth twisted outward, 
so ! and the sister with the mouth 
twisted downward, so ! and they tried 
each in their turn, so ! and so ! and the 
idiot baby with his mouth twisted in an 
eternal grin tried so ! And at last the 

[33] D 



MRS FISHER 

maid, a beautiful girl from Copenhagen 
with a perfectly formed mouth, put it out 
with her shoe. So ! Flap 1 " 

And we were left in darkness. And 
we would ask grandmother why the maid 
put it out with her shoe and not with her 
mouth ; and we would get a different 
answer every time* Either she said it 
was because the girl came from Copen- 
hagen where girls are very quick-witted, 
or because she was impatient, or because 
she was polite, or because she was laughing 
so much that she could not blow, or 
because of this or because of that. She 
never would tell us why, but that we 
felt that she was hiding something, a 
secret joke of her own. And at last she 
promised to tell us before she died. 
And years later when she was very ill 
and very old and was told that she was 
dying she wrote to us that the reason 
that the girl had put the candle out with 
[34] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

her shoe was that this was the best way 
to prevent the wick smoking. 

" But/' objected Rose, who of all of 
us most resembled Grandmother, " what 
thoughtlessness ! The grease must have 
splashed all about in the dark/' So 
we saw Grandmother's joke at last. Then 
Rose said to me that probably Grand- 
mother had also fooled us with the bead- 
purse, swinging it dangerously in the 
dark as soon as she had shattered the 
little cup of grease. As for the man, 
the Frenchman, I know now that Grand- 
mother was in a degree of humour at 
least beyond the approved official scale 
of a hundred years hence. 

I come, as Grandmother herself 
informed me, of very Mendelian stock. 
I had an Uncle Max who was a sort of 
Irishman. His sense of humour was 
always uncertain and compelling. Once 
at Seaford, at the very end of the holiday 

[35] 



MRS FISHER 

season, he bought up the balloon-woman's 
entire stock and brought it pole and all 
back to our lodging-house. He took 
the balloons upstairs to his room (it 
was rather a squeeze up the narrow stairs) 
and shut the door carefully behind him. 
Of course we took turns at the keyhole 
watching. He took a pin and slowly 
punctured them one after another with 
a safety-pin, laughing softly to himself 
as they shrivelled. He was very 
methodical, pricking them in the order 
of the colours of the rainbow, starting 
with violet and ending up with red. He 
cast suspicious glances at the door from 
time to time, and at last when all the 
balloons were gone he hid the pole up 
the chimney. Then he came rushing 
out of the room in a great hurry with 
the soot still on his hands and stumbled 
over us ; we ran away and he pursued us 
down the passage and made us promise 

[36] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

never to tell anyone what we had seen 
so long as he was alive. 

We knew about the order of the colours 
of the rainbow from Uncle Max himself. 
He told us one day at dinner that they 
were always in the same order and it was 
a curious thing that the first letters of 
the names of the colours made a word, 
and not only a word but an important 
word. And after we had guessed all 
sorts of likely words such as " Uncle 
Max ", " Coronation ", " Mafeking ", and 
" Seaford ", he told us solemnly that 
the word was VIBGYOR, and then got 
up and said Grace. 

One day we children found him on 
the pebbled garden-path, eating the 
pebbles. He told us to go away, but of 
course we didn't : we sat down and tried 
to eat pebbles too. He told us very 
seriously that eating pebbles was not a 
thing for children to do ; we should break 

[37] 



MRS FISHER 

our teeth. We agreed after trying one 
or two ; so to get rid of us he found us 
each a pebble which looked just like all 
the other pebbles but which crushed 
easily and had a chocolate centre. But 
this was only on condition that we went 
away and left him to his picking and 
crunching. When we came back later 
in the day we searched and searched, 
but only found the ordinary hard pebbles. 
He never once let us down in a joke, 
and even kept aloof from us when we 
grew up for the sake of the jokes he had 
once made. The last I saw of Uncle 
Max was during the War. Uncle Max 
was a soldier,, a major in the Cavalry, 
who went out to France with the first 
Expeditionary Force. He came home 
on leave from France (in the Spring of 
1915) and, as I accidentally discovered, 
spent his time walking about Town 
giving elaborate salutes to newly- joined 

[38] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

temporary second lieutenants and raising 
his cap to dug-out Colonels and Generals. 
Then he went back and was killed at 
once at Festubert intentionally, his men 
said. 

This deadliness of Uncle Max made a 
strong impression on us. We found out 
by watching him that a joke is a secret 
thing, not to be pawed over or breathed 
hard upon, to be taken very casually. 
So Catherine, who of us all most resembled 
Uncle Max, caught in the larder (where 
she was picking almonds off the cake) and 
asked what she was doing in there, had 
the presence of mind to answer : 
" Thinking out a surprise for my birth- 
day/' and to walk absent-mindedly away, 
and to offer no further explanations. 
I only know about it because I was 
eating biscuits behind the door when 
Catherine came in. And another day 
we two were out together walking in 

[39] 



MRS FISHER 

North Wales on the desolate moors at the 
back of the mountains by Harlechu 
We had not seen a soul all day. At 
last we came to a waterfall and two 
trout lying on the bank beside it ; ten 
yards away was the fisherman. He was 
disentangling his line from a thornbush 
and had not seen us. So we crept up 
quietly to the fish and put a sprig of white- 
bell-heather (which we had found that 
afternoon) in the mouth of each. We 
hurried back to cover, and I said : " Shall 
we watch ? J> but Catherine said : " No, 
don't spoil it/' remembering Uncle 
Max. So we came home and never 
spoke of it again even to each other : 
and never knew the sequel. 

Uncle Max was, as I said, an Irishman. 
I shall close the gallery of my relatives 
with an account of my Scottish Aunt 
Jeannie. Now, why the Scots offend 
as humorists is not that they are not 

[40] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

witty : they are a good deal wittier than 
the English and only less witty than the 
Irish. Nor is it that their humour never 
exceeds their intelligence, as in the case 
of the French. It is that they will make 
sure of their joke, hold it triumphantly up 
to the light, shake it to see if it rattles 
inside. For instance, before I reach 
my Aunt Jeannie, there was Dr Logan, 
author of the great channel hoax. She 
was making a typically Scotch joke. 
She pretended to swim the channel, 
signed a statutory declaration to say 
that she had accepted a thousand-pound 
cheque offered by a Sunday paper, and 
then went and owned up. She returned 
the cheque, explained that she was 
calling attention to the ease with which 
sportsmen and sportswomen could not 
really swim the channel. That was 
not funny, everyone said, and so Dr 
Logan was charged with perjury, con- 



MRS FISHER 

demned and fined a lot of money. And 
everyone was right. Dr Logan had 
spoilt what might easily have been a 
very good joke. She should never have 
owned up, should have had a good time 
with the thousand pounds or dedicated 
it to medical research in the cause and 
cure of swimmer's cramp, should have 
kept her joke religiously to herself. 
Then, if she had eventually been betrayed 
by one of the boatmen, her accomplices, 
she would at least have had her joke and 
the warning to the public as to how easily 
it could be imposed on would have had 
a real point. 

The Scots are at their best when they 
quote from the Scriptures, because once 
the chapter and verse is quoted there 
is no more to be done about it. You 
can't tease the joke further. The late 
W. P. Ker once made what I thought at 
the time a good one. The occasion was 

[42] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

a lecture on " The English Spirit " by a 
gross, strutting, big-bellied publicist. Ker 
watched him murderously, and when it 
was all over gave as his verdict : " Judges, 
iii, 22, And the dirt came out. Which, 
though it has nothing to do with the 
future of humour, sounded very well 
in the Scottish accent. 

Aunt Jeannie. She is a respectable 
Scottish widow a class of women for 
whom the Insurance Company has built 
up a quite unjustified public confidence. 
(This is not a comic joke, but a libel.) 
Her husband, Max's brother, was a 
professor of history at a Scottish 
University. When he died he left a 
fortune quite out of proportion to his 
income : this was easily accounted for 
by his accurate knowledge of the flaws 
in the pedigrees of four or five of the 
richest and most honourable Scottish 
houses. Being Irish, he enjoyed his 

[43] 



MRS FISHER 

joke and kept it to himself. All his 
earnings from this source he eventually 
left to an Irish University for the founda- 
tion of a Chair of Irish Genealogical 
History. What remained did not satisfy 
Jeannie, who supported her Scottish 
widowhood by a cruder blackmail and by 
simple theft. She once got possession of 
some silver spoons of mine by a trick 
and nearly succeeded in taking them off 
to France with her. I arrived indignantly 
just in time and made her take them out 
of her trunk on the platform at Victoria 
Station. Later I was sent a postcard 
from Paris saying that, " The trouble 
with you Englishmen (sic) is that you 
have no sense of humour/' If I had 
thought that she meant by this that 
she intended to steal those spoons (as 
I knew she had already stolen some 
candlesticks of Grandmother's, and a 
second edition of Paradise Lost from 

[44] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

Uncle Max's library), I would not have 
minded so much. A thief in the family 
can be a good joke. But I knew that 
what she really meant was that she had 
intended to send me back the spoons 
from France to show how easily I could 
be hoaxed. That made me simply furious, 
because she was, I knew, quite capable 
of the loganism. 

A comparison between spade-humour 
and spillikin-humour. Welsh humour is 
the simplest form of spade-humour that 
I know, the most restful and the most 
idiotic. It is folk-humour, which means 
that it dpes not get less personal by 
diffusion, because the persons concerned 
do not vary personally. They are all 
equally nit-wit. I indulgently quote an 
example or two. 

A minister takes for his text : " The 
high hills are a refuge for the wild-goat and 
so are the stony rocks for the conies/' 

[45] 



MRS FISHER 

" Brethren/* he says, " Christian men ! 
what wass coniss ? What, I say to you, 
wass coniss ? Wass it lions ? No ! Wass 
it TIGERS ? No ! Wass it ELEPHANTS ? 
NO I " " Brethren/' he says, " Christian 
men ! What wass coniss ? . . . Coniss 
wass a little wee rabbit, you see/' 

On the quay at Bardsey Island. Alfie 
Jones, a young islander, is returning 
from a visit to the mainland. His father 
shouts to him from a window as the boat 
is drawing up ; " Alfie, Alfie, stupid lad ! 
What in the name of fortune have you 
there in that parcel under your arm, 
lad ? " 

'* My trousseau, pa ! For my marriage 
on Sunday, pa ! " 

" Your trousseau, stupid lad ? " 

" Ay, pa, my trousseau ! A pair of 
new English boots with real porpoise- 
leather boot-laces ! " 

Dai Jones was a miner of Tonypandy 

[46] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

and he had a dream. He dreamed of 
Paradise. He was in a mighty great 
amphitheatre in a mighty great angelic 
choir. And they were singing hymns : 
they were indeed singing Welsh hymns. 
All were dressed in white standing in 
endless pews. There were millions of 
tenors, millions of contraltos, millions of 
sopranos, millions of trebles ; and only 
one bass Dai Jones himself. The 
angelic conductor rapped with his baton 
on a magnificent harmonium that was 
beside him and cried with a loud voice : 
" Brothers and Sisters, we will now sing 
Doctor Parry's world-famous melody 
Aberystwyth. And the whole choir of 
Paradise crashed into the opening bars. 
Oh, boys, it was a glorious harmony 
indeed of all those millions of saints 
singing together in unison. But hardly 
had they started when the conductor 
was seen to drop his baton and wave his 

[47] 



MRS FISHER 

arms to stop the music. And the music 
ceased, and there came a great calm, 
and the conductor was heard to say : 
" Champion ! champion ! my brothers and 
sisters/' but he said, too : " Dai Jones, 
too much bass ! " 

My grandfather's gold-headed spade. 
Compare with it the Chinese spillikin, 
the most nervous humour of all. I was 
once told, by a highbrow humorist, 
the Classical Chinese jests which are 
supposed to represent the two bottom 
spillikins of the whole delicate pile. He 
told me that after Chinese humour it 
was impossible to enjoy European humour 
at alL He said that the future of humour 
was inevitably Chinese. The first jest was : 

An influential mandarin, by the 
machinations of certain of his enemies, 
was reduced from a position of affluence 
and security to one of infinite misery. 
He retired to a cell on the To mountain 

[48] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

where he spent the remainder of his life 
inscribing with a burnt stick upon the 
walls of his apartment : " Oh, oh ! 
strange business ! " 

The second : 

The celebrated sage and ascetic Feng 
after thirty years withdrawal from the 
world attained to such sanctitude that he 
was able without suspicion to hold upon 
his knee and fondle Miss Ise, a famous 
beauty, daughter of the Mandarin Soin, 
his old schoolfellow. 

It only remains to decide now whether 
the Chinese play spillikins with spades, 
or whether the Welsh shovel coal with 
spillikins. For the centuried refinement 
of Chinese humour results, in the first 
case, in a joke not at all to be distinguished 
in quality from that of Alfie Jones and his 
laces, and in the second in a joke only 
rather more compact and dry than 
"Strong in Prayer", a Welsh story 

[49] B 



MRS FISHER 

about the many unprintable short- 
comings of the famous Revivalist 
preacher, Rev. Crawshay Bailey. 

"Ay (said Dr Johnson), that is the 
state of the world. Water is the same 
everywhere/' 

This, of course, leads nowhere. All 
I can say is that if the humour of 
to-morrow is really to be a strict sort of 
Chinese Classicism (with Welsh affinities) 
then the reaction of the day after to- 
morrow will probably be to the so-called 
" pure humour " of the day before yesterday 
the irresponsible after-dinner fable-with- 
out-moral of the Edwardian era. Let 
me recall one or two of these fables, 
whose claim to purity is that they are 
neither topical nor directed towards any 
classical point. 

A man once went into Buszard's 
and ordered a cake. He explained diffi- 
dently that it was rather an unusual order* 

[50] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

He wanted the cake shaped like a letter S. 
The manager said that it certainly was 
somewhat difficult ; a special mould 
would have to be made, but he could 
promise to make a satisfactory job of it. 
When it was ready the man arrived and 
said : "I am really delighted with the 
cake, but it was very stupid of me ; 
I did not make my order clear. I wanted 
a small s, not a capital S." The manager 
apologized and promised to have a new 
cake made by the following week. When 
it was ready, the man came again. " Yes, 
that is exactly right/' "Where shall I 
send it ? " asked the manager. " Send 
it ? " said the man, surprised. " Oh, 
please don't trouble to send it. Just 
give me a knife, a plate, and a little bread 
and butter, and 111 eat it at once/' 

To which may be added the Fable of 
the Young Serpent, which as nearly as I 
can recall goes like this : "A young 

[51] 



MRS FISHER 

serpent was one day surprised by her 
mother in the act of trying on a new bonnet 
in front of the pier-glass. ' Where are 
you going ? ' asked the fond parent. 
' Nowhere, nowhere at all/ replied the 
startled daughter, ' not even into the 
Garden.' . . ." And then there was the 
mathematician at a dinner party who, 
on being passed a bowl of salad (while 
engaged in animated conversation with 
a lady on his left), absent-mindedly 
emptied it on his head. When his atten- 
tion was called to what he had just done, 
he replied in some confusion, " And I had 
thought it was the spinach." 

This salad joke, with one or two others 
of the same sort that I have forgotten, 
was given in a correspondence in the 
Morning Post, a few years before the War, 
as to whether women had a sense of 
humour. It was alleged that no woman 
ever laughed at it. I repeated it once 

[52] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

with the Fable of the Young Serpent, 
to the late W. H. R. Rivers, the psycho- 
logist. He enjoyed them both, I think, 
on their own merits, but denied their 
purity* He said that they were perfect 
examples of wit according to Freud's 
theory of symbols. He would not believe 
that the Young Serpent had not been 
deliberately composed with one eye on 
Freud (though I knew for a fact that 
it had not) and the salad joke was perfectly 
obvious. " Why no woman laughs at it 
is because the symbolism of crowning the 
head with salad or spinach is one that 
would have active appeal to the male 
sexual fantasy in suppression and none 
to the female. And much as one dislikes 
accepting Freud's conclusions, the trouble 
is that he is so often right/' Now, 
as a matter of fact, I have since found 
that women do think the fable funny 
though, like the others, too delicate to be 

[53] 



MRS FISHER 

laughed aloud at. And I do not think 
that the joke has anything more to do with 
sex than it has with mathematicians. 
It is a very gentle joke. If a Scot picks 
it up and shakes it he will not make it 
rattle. But it is not really pure humour 
because it depends too much on style ; 
it is not as irresponsible as it looks. It 
only differs from Classicism by not ending, 
so to speak, with a comfortable mark of 
exclamation, but with an uneasy comma. 

As for Freudian humour, it is a very 
low form. If you accept an arbitrary 
group of symbols serpents, salads, 
umbrellas, tunnels as having a 
suppressed sex-significance, all you have 
to do is to laugh cynically whenever 
they occur. Which is boringly often* 
A woman, if she can be bothered, can 
have this sense of humour as easily as 
a man. 

The dictionary definition of humour 

[54] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

Is the faculty of appreciating the incon- 
gruous elements in ideas and situations. 
That is about what one would expect 
from a dictionary. On the contrary 
(though this is not intended for a defini- 
tion) humour is rather the faculty of 
seeing apparently incongruous elements 
as part of a scheme for supra-logical 
necessity. Humour is not of the Gods, 
who have, as has been already said, only 
the most rudimentary sense of the 
ridiculous, but of the Fates and of this 
Necessity, who is, according to the Greek 
theologians at least, above all the Gods. 
Humour is pitiless, not with crude 
pitilessness, as when the Gods laughed 
at Hephaestus, but with metaphysical 
pitilessness. There is no suppressed anti- 
negro or sadistic element in me that makes 
me laugh at the story of the two coloured 
women who were walking outside a 
Chicago slaughter-house over a piece of 

[55] 



MRS FISHER 

waste ground littered with the offal of 
cattle, horses, and donkeys when one 
of them, looking at something lying at her 
feet, exclaimed : c< O Mercy, the Klu 
Klux done got our beloved Pastor/' 
Nor is it an anti-rectorial fixation that 
makes me laugh at to-day's newspaper 
poster : HECTOR'S FIGHT FOR HIS HONOUR : 
PICTURES. I am almost as sorry for the 
Rector as for the heroine of yesterday's 
headline : STRUGGLE IN WOOD, who gave 
the Rector's fight congruity. Humour 
is perhaps the economical equating of 
concepts which are by definition un- 
equatable. Thus : " The Navel is to the 
Nobility as Death is to Dentifrice " may 
be used as a casual class-room formula. 
But not more than once. Nor can the 
elements of the equation be shifted about 
to make a fresh joke every time, thus : 
" Dentifrice is to the Navel as Death is 
to the Nobility/' That lands you into 

[56] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

the re-shuffling humour of French bed- 
room farce : (0-#) n . The remainder 
of this chapter (to quote Bertrand 
Russell) may be omitted by readers who 
have not even the most elementary 
acquaintance with geometry or algebra. 
In fact, I shall omit it myself and pass 
on to a death -bed scene .and its 
congruities. 

The death-bed scene. An old man, 
dying, has called his six sons and four 
daughters about him. Before he passes 
away he has a terrible confession to make. 
For a long while he struggles with shame. 
Finally he beckons the eldest son and 
whispers : " What I have to confess to 
you is this I was never married to your 
mother." No need for the eldest son 
to repeat the message, so tense the silence 
that all have heard it. The old man falls 
back on his pillows, dead. A few 
moments' pause, broken at last by the 

[57] 



MRS FISHER 

voice of the youngest daughter : " Well, 
I don't know what you other barstards 
are going to do, but I'm off to the Movies." 
Humour and hysteria. They both use 
the laugh, but they are far apart. 
Humour is reasonable, in measure* 
Hysteria is unreasomble, beyond measure. 
The laughter in humour is voluntary 
and proportioned ; in hysteria it is 
involuntary and disproportioned. No 
humour was ever enough by itself to 
put anyone in a state of uncontrolled 
laughter ; the confusion between humour 
and hysteria has been made by pro- 
fessional humorists who force their 
audiences out of control by bullying 
them with some small shred of humour, 
the smaller and sillier the better. They 
stage a misunderstanding, say, over the 
town of Ware, the river Wye, or Witch 
House in Watt Street, until the suspense 
becomes insupportable, a girl in the 

[58] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

gallery goes into hysterics and the rest 
of the audience follows in sympathy. 
This is how Budd and Judd become 
great comedians. A good deal even of 
Chaplin's humour is hysterical. The first 
comedy in which he ever appeared, 
Kid's Auto Races, consists of nothing 
but Charlie as the dude continually 
posing in front of the camera-man who 
is trying to film the auto-races, continually 
being thrown out of the way, and con- 
tinually returning. 

The Board of Humour will no doubt 
improve the technique of comic bullying. 
Its photo-tone gagsmen will know exactly 
how near the stage-gardener must come 
to falling into the gold-fish pond, and 
how often he must stand on the points 
of the rake and be rapped on the nose 
by the handle, and how many panes of 
the cucumber frame he must break, 
before general hysteria supervenes. 

[59] 



MRS FISHER 

There is, by the way, one form of 
humour at least that the Board will never 
be able to organize, and that is the quiet 
personal joy of keeping a pet. The best 
pet is a public character, one of the 
many uninventably extravagant creatures 
always loose in public life, and the game 
is watching it behave miraculously true 
to itself. For instance, one of the 
closest ties that binds me to my friend 
R, to whom I dedicate this book, is 
our simultaneous discovery of a con- 
temporary poet whom for some reason 
or other we called " Up the Airy 
Mountain ", or " Airy " for short. Airy 
began eight years ago as the monthly 
prize-winner of the half-guinea prize 
for the best lyric in The Nine Muses : 
A Magazine of Verse, after which he 
graduated and became the quarterly 
prize-winner of the guinea-and-a-half 
prize for the best lyric in Helicon: A 

F601 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

Journal of Poetry. He was up the airy 
mountain all right, and what we liked 
about him was that he still continued to 
be the monthly prize-winner in The 
Nine Muses, and still so continues. He 
has never kicked away the ladder beneath 
him. Five years ago he published his 
first book, which had a great popular 
success, for Airy was clever : he had 
already secured the silence of all the 
high-brow poets and critics by becoming 
poetry-reviewer in chief to the Weekly 
Conservative and the Weekly Diehard, 
and reader to a new publishing firm 
specializing in Modernist Poetry. His 
path was clear. R and I watched his 
progress with satisfaction : there is no 
joy in keeping a pet unless it thrives. 
I had a joke on R when I was quoted 
somewhere as one of the most promising 
of our young poets sandwiched between 
the Sitwells and Airy Mountain. But 

[61] 



MRS FISHER 

R scored by getting an application from 
Airy himself for a poem for an anthology : 
the letter contained the phrase, " though 
I have a greater respect for your poetry 
than I fear you have for mine." I would 
ask R : " What news of Airy this week ? " 
and R would answer : "Mr Airy again 
triumphs in his new volume of lyrics, 
" Thou Lily. 3 ' And I would say, " I 
can cap that " : " We are happy to 
announce that Mr Airy the Poet has 
undertaken to become contributing editor 
to The Aristotelian " (which was the 
arch-highbrow stronghold). " Yes, that's 
pretty good/' said R; "but this, in 
its way, is better/' and showed me the 
American advertisement of Sanctus 
Spiritus heavily lettered as " THE GREAT 
POEM OF MANKIND " with a portrait of 
Airy posed as John Keats ; for R and I 
have a standing competition for the best 
exhibit in a gallery " Homage to Airy 

[62] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

Mountain ". R usually wins, having a 
quicker intuition than I as to where and 
how Airy will fulfil himself next. We 
got a good story about Airy and the 
bookshops. He went one day to an 
obscure bookshop in the suburbs and 
inquired : " Have you by chance any 
first editions of Mountain's poems ? " The 
bookseller said casually : " Oh, yes, sir, 
I think we have one or two about some- 
where in the back of the shop/' " I 
hear that they are commanding big 
prices now ? " said Airy. " Oh, no/' 
said the bookseller, " oh, not at all, 
Mr Airy Mountain 1 " R and I hesitated 
for a long time before actually meeting 
Airy : we were afraid of disappointment. 
At last, after a few drinks, we went to 
see him act as judge in an elocution 
contest, and sat at the back of the hall. 
He was magnificent, better even than 
the illustration to The Great Poem of 

[63] 



MRS FISHER 

Mankind. He was sallow and lean with 
a face like Dante's, suppose Dante had 
taken after the wrong aunt, and walked 
with a springy step and carried a dark 
yellow portfolio, and talked with a dark 
yellow voice and wore side-whiskers of 
the pattern known prettily as " Friend- 
ship-grips ". The set-piece for the com- 
petition was one of Airy's own, and the 
whole performance was so perfect that 
R said : " Come out now, don't spoil it. 
He'll recite it himself to show how it 
should be done and I think it would be 
bad for my heart." So we went out, 
and a sudden gloom descended on us, 
which R broke at last by voicing the 
thought that was in my mind too : 
" My God ! wouldn't it be awful if Airy 
died on us/' What fond and wayward 
thoughts will slide into a lover's head ! 
And yet a pet may easily be lost : 
it may be stolen by others and made 

[64] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

not a pet but a scapegoat of their own 
vulgarities. Indeed this is what has 
happened to our Airy : he is sinking into 
pathos ; with these others it is righteous- 
ness and criticism, with us it was a fond- 
ness. And even before this he had 
begun to pine away. One day we 
followed him rather too closely and 
lovingly when we happened to see him 
coming out of Hatchard^ in Piccadilly 
with a de luxe edition of The Great Poem 
of Mankind in his hand. He got 
thoroughly scared, hid the book under 
his coat, and jumped into a taxi. From 
then on he was never the same for us. 
We had crossed the thin line between 
cossetting and teasing and he had mis- 
taken us for persecutors. 

My own limitations of humour. To 
those that are already apparent I must 
add that I cannot laugh at jokes about 
childbirth or jokes about mothers-in-law* 

[65] F 



MRS FISHER 

They belong to the same tradition of 
male humour that includes jokes about 
drunk men coming home late at night 
after sleeping with chorus girls. Here 
symmetrically minded. I do 



^^^ 

not tibdnk mothers-in-law an<T dfunEen 
husbands funny, because thejThave no 
popular counterpart Tn IafEefs4n-law or 
inaruhkeh wiveV coming^ hoifie^late "at 
night after sleeping witS" " guarHsmen. 
As for childbirth jokes, I would appreciate 
their brutality if they were obviously 
invented by married women for the 
enlivenment of mothers' meetings, and 
not by unmarried men as bonds of legal, 
medical, commercial, military, or 
ecclesiastical fraternity* 

Male humour is only tolerable when it 
is directed against itself. Driving once 
near Amiens with an old Spanish Colonel, 
I asked him to tell me about the various 
places of interest that we passed. He 

[66] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

did so. He knew a lot about the churches 
and the castles and public institutions. At 
last he pointed out a very richly decorated 
villa perched on a hill and surrounded 
by "luxurious gardens. " That is a house 
that you "should visit, young man/' 

" What is remarkable about it, 
Colonel ? " 

" Listen ! you go up that path among 
the roses and you ring at the side door 
not the front door, remember ! After 
a few minutes it will be opened to you by 
an enormous negro, really enormous. 
He is two metres and a quarter in height 
and dressed entirely in scarlet. He will 
blindfold your eyes and lead you to a 
room where there are twenty girls seated 
at tables. They are all exquisitely 
beautiful girls dressed in the height of 
fashion. They are all different in type ; 
tall, small, medium, with yellow hair or 
black or brown or red. You can choose 

[67] 



MRS FISHER 

whom you fancy and sit at her table. 
She will invite yon to drink with her, 
and you can choose what drink you like 
it is a marvellous cellar and you need 
pay nothing for it. Then she will invite 
you to play a game with her. You can 
choose the game : it may be draughts 
or chess or backgammon or cribbage or 
what you like. And if you win the game 
you can take the girl whom you have 
beaten to a private room close by and 
kiss and embrace her to your heart's 
content. But I warn you, young man, 
that you have to be very very clever 
at your game to beat any of these girls. 
They are marvellous players/' 

"Naturally/' I said, "but what is 
the penalty if one loses ? " 

" Oh, then/' replied the Colonel, in 
a tempest of laughter, " then you yourself 
are Aristotled by the enormous negro/' 

Apart from this sort of joke, I don't, 
[68] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

as I say, like male humour. And I don't 
like jokes about tramps at the back-door 
and their dislike of work, because I 
know too much about workhouses and 
the low diet of the casual ward. I don't 
mind cruel jokes about War so long as 
they are made by soldiers during the 
War. Let me record in outline one or 
two of the most satisfying jokes that I 
ever laughed at. They were made in 
France in an infantry division so popular 
at Headquarters that it was given the 
honour of losing the equivalent of its 
entire combatant strength every six 
months or so. The subject of the first 
joke was Lieutenant A, a bullying, 
boastful, cowardly fellow who was always 
saving his skin at someone else's expense. 
He had always managed to go sick or 
get sent on a course when fighting was 
expected, and had finally dug himself 
in as Divisional Sornething-or-other and 

[69] 



MRS FISHER 

evaded trench-service altogether. One 
night he was foolish enough to get drunk 
and disorderly at an Officers' Club at 
Amiens and was returned to the battalion 
the day before a particularly bloody 
" show " to the delight of everyone but 
the platoon he was to command. As 
luck would have it, he was slightly 
wounded in the arm two hours before 
the attack (he was suspected of having 
exposed his arm to a sniper) and retired 
laughing. The joke came later when 
the eighty unwounded survivors of the 
battalion and the two or three hundred 
wounded survivors heard that Lieutenant 
A, while riding triumphantly back in an 
ambulance, had been bombed by an 
aeroplane twenty miles behind the line 
and had one of his buttocks ripped right 
off. This must not be mistaken for 
a variation on the Miles Gloriosus joke of 
Latin comedy. Lieutenant A was too 

[70] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

personally loathsome to be a type, and 
he died of wounds like any hero. I have 
since seen his memorial brass. 

A certain F, a private in the same 
battalion, was sent to draw the rum-issue 
from the reserve line just before the same 
show. We were shivering in the rain 
in the support-line waiting to attack 
behind the front-line company. F was 
an ex-burglar and should never have been 
trusted with the mission/ The other 
companies got the rum, ours didn't. 
At last the order came to fix bayonets 
and go forward. As we poured into the 
communication trench; F staggered up, 
retching and red-faced, hugging the ruin 
jar. He had lost his rifle, helmet, and 
equipment, and was singing an obscene 
song about the Warder's daughter of 
Wormwood Scrubs. The Germans were 
accurately shelling the muddy communica- 
tion-trench with six-inch shells, and there 

[71] 



MRS FISHER 

was a stream of wounded and gassed men 
on stretchers blocking our way. " Here 
you are, Captain/' cried F merrily, 
and fell forward into the mud. " Thank 
you, F," it seems D, the Company 
Commander, answered, putting one foot 
on F's neck and one on the small of his 
back and treading him deep into the 
mud. And then, " Company forward ! " 
The whole company passed over F as 
over any other corpse; including (I 
suppose) myself who, as second in 
command, brought up the rear. F was 
never heard of again. His fate was 
" missing, believed dead ", and we laughed 
at it over the breakfast marmalade 
two days later. It helped us to forget 
that D was also among the missing. 

D had been our chief wit. We were 
sitting at breakfast one day when D's 
servant rushed in without saluting and 
in great terror. " Gas, sir ! They're 

[72] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

nsing gas 1 " " Good ! " said D sweetly, 
" Bring me some more marmalade and 
my respirator ! " A broader type of 
joke was provided by E, a cut-throat 
comrade of F. (They had applied for 
the position of Company wiring-men, 
whose job it was to repair the barbed- 
wire entanglements. I found out that 
they liked the job because of the oppor- 
tunity it gave them of looting the dead. 
F got a purse of German gold 20-mark 
pieces from a leg that he found lying 
quite alone in a shell-hole that was 
another very good joke in the battalion.) 
E one morning saw that an angle of the 
trench had collapsed, disclosing a pair of 
boots belonging to a corpse. At one of 
these he tugged, in the hope of loot, 
shouting cheerfully : " Come out, my 
lad, your King and Country needs you ! " 
He tugged harder, the corpse refusing to 
budge, and he went over backwards into 

[73] 



MRS FISHER 

a sump-pit full of liquid mud with the 
boots, and the feet in them, in his hands. 

These jokes are disgusting ? Absolutely. 
Not funny ? Not in the least now. But 
they were once in their context extra- 
ordinarily funny. Now we are back to 
rolling pins and wasp-nests. Funny ? 
But when the next war comes, it will be 
back to ripped buttocks, missing believed 
killed, and good-bye everyone. Funny. 

I have often been accused of senti- 
mentality because I am loyal to the 
cheese joke, which, it will be remembered, 
was only put in the third degree of 
academic humour. It is classed by my 
revolutionary friends with my devotion 
to folk-song, Hanoverian Royalty, 1 and 

1 This devotion I can always justify by the 
story of the royal golf-ball (testified to by the 
late Mr Theodore Cook, of The Field) which left 
a royal tee on Sandringham links and was lost 
for several minutes until found by chance in the 
ear of a royal cow, 

[74] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

Nature. I do not choose to argue 
about the cheese joke. I am not ashamed 
of it even though I share it with Punch 
I may say at once that but for the cheese, 
most of the smells of Punch go altogether 
against my stomach. I can't, for instance, 
keep down jokes about vulgar society 
parvenues, about weary mistresses and 
impudent servants, about ingenuous 
mothers and precocious children, about 
the working man on the dole, about dear 
old clergymen and village reprobates, 
about doctors and ignorant patients 
particularly when these are never qualified 
by jokes about society from the parvenue's 
point of view, or jokes about impudent 
mistresses and weary servants, about 
ingenuous children and precocious 
mothers, about the employer not on the 
dole, about dear old villagers and 
reprobate clergymen, about patients and 
ignorant doctors. I think that it would 

[75] 



MRS FISHER 

have been far more dignified of Punch 
if he had been content to remain where 
he began, with hump and nut-cracker 
face as his whole stock-in-trade, in the 
first degree of academic humour* It 
would at least have saved him from 
the indignity of being the subject of 
degree five. 

When the phrase " Good enough for 
Punch I " rises in my throat, it means 
that I am about to be really sick as 
once when darling Pamela Diana, adored 
child of a member of the Stock Exchange 
and a lady of fashion, actually and 
genuinely (and in my hearing) came 
out with the mot : " Daddy spends all 
his time buying pennies for Mummy ! " 

One day perhaps I shall accidentally 
meet Sir Owen Seaman, the editor of 
Punch. I rather like the idea of him. 
I have never met him, but he has a very 
charming practice of returning nearly all 

[76] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

manuscripts sent to him with detailed 
explanations of why they are not funny. 
The others he prints. I heard a story 
about Sir Owen which also involves 
a story about Pavlova. Two old Scottish 
ladies were sitting in the gallery at a 
Glasgow Theatre watching Pavlova dance 
in the tragic ballet Mart de Cygne. And 
one said to the other : " She's awfu' like 
oor Mrs Wishart." And when Sir Owen 
was told of this by a Scotsman who had 
overheard it, he asked briskly : " And, 
pray, who is this Mrs Fisher ? " Well, 
who is Mrs Fisher ? The Editor of 
Punch didn't know. His informant didn't 
know. I don't know. But her existence 
was assumed by the Editor of Punch 
as the embodiment of a joke that was 
beyond him. And she sounds very likely. 
I suspect that she is the Future of Humour 
itself. At all events I am giving her 
the benefit of the doubt. 

[77] 



MRS FISHER 

I once decided to send a contribution to 
Punch to see what letter I would get in 
reply. Hunting about for suitable bait, 
I found a transcription of essays by 
Egyptian students whom I had been 
examining (I can't now remember why) 
for a Teaching Diploma at the High 
Training College at Cairo. The essays 
which, I hope, have nothing to do with 
the Future of Humour, went like this : 

ENVIRONMENT AS A FACTOR IN EVOLUTIONS 

This is the theory of evolutions. Once it was 
thought that the earth's crust was caused by 
catastrophes, but when Darwin came into the 
world and had a good deal of philosophy, he 
said: "All different kinds of species differ 
gradually as we go backwards and there is no 
catastrophes, and if we apply the fact upon 
previous predecessors we reach simpler and 
simpler predecessors, until we reach the Nature/' 
Man also is under the evolutions. None can 
deny this if he could deny the sun in daylight. 
A child from the beginning of the birthday 
possesses insects like to suckle his food from the 
mamel of his mother and many others. But he 
is free of habits and he is weak as anything. 

[78] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

Then lie is introduced into a house and usually 
finds himself among parents and his body is 
either cleansed or left to the dirts. This shows 
his environment. Superficial thinkers are apt 
to look on environment as (at best) a trine 
motive in bringing up, but learned men believe 
that a child born in the presence of some women 
who say a bad word, this word, as believed by 
them, remains in the brain of the child until 
it ejects. 

Environment quickly supplies modification. 
The life of mountainous goats leads them to train 
themselves on jumping. The camel is flat-footed 
with hoofs for the sand. Some kind of cattle 
were wild in the past, but lived in plain lands 
and changed into gentle sheep. The frog when 
young has her tail and nostrils like the fish, 
suitable for life at sea, but changing her environ- 
ment, the tail decreased. The sea is broad and 
changeable, so those who live at sea are change- 
able and mysterious. Put a cow in a dirty damp 
place, and she will become more and more 
slender until she die. Also horses : horse had 
five fingers on his legs but now only one from 
running for water in the draught. Climate also 
affects bodily habits of the dear Europeans 
who live in Egypt. They who were smart and 
patient and strong with a skin worth the 
name of weatherproof become also fatigable 
and fond of leisure. . . . From the theory we 
learn that human beings should be improved 
like the beasts by creating healthy youngs 
and by good Freubel education. 

[79] 



MRS FISHER 

THE CHARACTER OF LADY MACBETH 

Sir, to write shortly, Lady Macbeth was brave 
and venturesome ; but she had no tact. She 
says to Macbeth : " Now the opportunity creates 
itself, lose it not. Where is your manlihood in 
these suitable circumstances ? I have children 
and I know the love of a mother's heart. But 
you must know I would dash the child's head 
and drive away the boneless teeth which are 
milking me rather than to give a promise and 
then leave it." 

Macbeth says : ** But we may fail." 

" Fail ? " says Laby Macbeth , " but stick to 
the point and we will not fail. Leave the rest 
to me. I shall put drugs in the grooms' drink, 
and we shall ascuse them/' 

Macbeth says : " You are fit to lay men 
children only." 

The impression on the reader becomes very 
great, and feels with anger. 

The experiment was successful. Sir 
Owen replied in a holograph letter that 
the essays were not acceptable because 
he couldn't himself write a word of 
Arabic. (For, pray, who is Mrs Fisher ?) 

I would not be prepared to deny 
absolutely the possibility of humour 
in Punch. There is a tendency on the 

[80] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

part of some of the best jokes of all to 
improve themselves by their setting 
the school-room, the asylum, the prison- 
cell, the death-bed. Several jokes in 
the last few years have been witty 
enough to conceal themselves in the 
joke-corners of daily newspapers. And 
if ever, thousands of years hence, a 
Phoenix of a joke appears flying with 
purple wings and barred tail-feathers 
across the Western world and looks 
for an altar on which to consume itself, 
there is little doubt in my mind where 
that altar will be found : Phcenix will 
blaze up in glory among the " Charivaria " 
of Punch and all subscriptions will cease 
and there will be no more national 
humorous weekly, and Mrs Fisher will 
descend and reign her thousand years. 
If when we are considering the future 
of humour we find ourselves in a sort of 
morbid jealousy of the opportunities 

[81] G 



MRS FISHER 

that posterity will have for laughing 
at us, why don't we forestall posterity ? 
The laughs are all here. But we do not 
laugh because to laugh would mean 
seeing that things are as goddawful as 
they are ; and if we did this, we shouldn't 
laugh we'd do something about them 
first. And maybe even then we shouldn't 
laugh. And maybe even posterity won't 
laugh either because it will see how 
goddawful the things really were or 
because, more likely, they will still be 
unchanged and still goddawful and 
posterity won't see them as goddawful 
any more than they are seen now. 

So let us at this point, reader, have a 
private laugh of our own, for when may 
it ever come to this again ? At the 
adventures of meat from the stock-yards 
to the docks and from the dock-yards to 
the gas-stove ; at pedestrians forced to 
cross main-roads between trams, 'buses, 

[82] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

and private cars ; at correct evening- 
wear for men ; at the prudery of the 
revues ; at women who start with quite 
good names of their own and who marry 
and call themselves, say, the Mrs John 
Smiths and then divorce the Mr John 
Smiths for sleeping illegitimately with 
the Mrs James Smiths, and then when 
the Mr James Smiths divorce the Mrs 
James Smiths and the Mrs James Smiths, 
legitimately this time, sleep with the 
Mr John Smiths and become the Mrs 
John Smiths, nevertheless remain the 
Mrs John Smiths unless they happen to 
marry again and become, say, the Mrs 
James Smiths ; at dust-carts ; at street- 
musicians ; at sporting-prints ; at repre- 
sentative government ; at the amateur 
status in first-class cricket ; at visiting- 
cards ; at district-visitors ; at advertising ; 
at the shapes of sofas and the choice of 
electric lamp-shades ; at the millions of 

[83] 



MRS FISHER 

victims (but let us lower our voices at 
this point, for we are about to commit 
a misdemeanour) of the economic system 
who unaccountably refrain from bashing 
in the skulls of the few thousand victors 
with paving-stones, whip-butts, coal-picks, 
empty champagne-bottles, or heavy 
spanners whenever they come across 
them ; at flowered cretonnes ; at medical 
etiquette ; at the price of old masters ; 
at the contents of china-shops. Speaking 
of china-shops, the following is clipped 
from an official list of military stores 
published for the current year : 

Vessels, CHBR : Porcelain, with rims 
and handles, officers, 
for the use of. 

Do : China, rimless, with 
handles, warrant- 
officers^ for the use of. 
Do : Earthenware, rimless, 
without handles, other 
ranks, for the use of. 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

Vessels, CHBR : India-rubber, collap- 
sible, mental cases, 
for the use of. 

When things are really goddawful like 
this, it is no use trying to reform them 
by any earnest means spreading Com- 
munist leaflets among the armed forces 
of the Crown, wrecking the pot-banks of 
Stoke-on-Trent, or committing Suicide 
and leaving an explanatory manifesto 
behind. Even to write them up in the 
Sinclair Lewis style is merely to ask for 
a Punch laugh from readers of the New 
Leader or the American Mercury. The 
one possible way to beat them is to see 
if they can by any ingenuity be made a 
little more goddawful than they are and 
so beat themselves. In this particular 
case it might be necessary to threaten 
a question in the House and so black- 
mail the Army Council into providing 
a new type of vessel-chbr cut-glass, 

[85] 



MRS FISHER 

with two handles, and a rim emblazoned 
with regimental battle-honours, field- 
officers for the use of. Swift wrote his 
Modest Proposal for preventing the children 
of poor people from being a burden to their 
parents or the country, and Defoe his 
Shortest Way with Dissenters, in this 
sort of spirit ; though they were both 
unable to go as far as they should and 
press their schemes into operation. 

A few years ago my friend Z found 
himself oppressed by general goddawful- 
ness. In public life nothing of any note 
was happening, except that the nation 
was just beginning to realize that the 
War was now over and had to be paid 
for ; and that The Carpenter's Shop was 
about to be sold to an American dealer 
and everyone was pretending to regret 
the impending loss. In private life 
nothing much was happening either 
except that Z had been given the dreary 

[86] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

task of disposing of a single pet-goldfish 
for a friend who was shutting up her flat 
and going abroad to the Riviera. 

So, to improve on this doubly goddawf ul 
situation, he decided that the goldfish 
would have to save The Carpenter's Shop 
for the Nation. He took a 'bus to the 
National Gallery. He put the goldfish 
into a fountain near the entrance and 
called the attention of one of the Gallery 
officials to it. " Do you see this gold- 
fish ? " " Well, what about it ? " " This 
goldfish is going to save The Carpenter's 
Shop for the nation/' The official, alarmed, 
ran into the Gallery. Z went to his club 
and wrote a letter, something like this, to 
one of the Saturday reviews : 

SIR, I have to-day put a goldfish into the 
fountain at the entrance to the National 
Gallery as a broad hint to my art-loving 
millionaire relatives that they should put down 
the few -thousand pounds necessary to save 
that exquisite Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece The 
Carpenter's Shop from following our other 
national art-treasures to America. 

[87] 



MRS FISHER 
The Sunday press made a scare-line of it : 

POET'S STRANGE ACTION. FISH PLACED 

IN FOUNTAIN. And early the next week 
Z's millionaire relatives wrote the cheque. 
The following Saturday, Z visited the 
Gallery and heard the same official, 
concluding a lecture-tour of the rooms, 
finish up with : " And one more thing, 
ladies and gentlemen. Here is the famous 
goldfish that has saved The Carpenter's 
Shop for the nation." 

This sort of humour is what I suppose 
would be called realism. It has great 
possibilities. But one would have to be 
very energetic to use it systematically : 
to be bothered to add more wheels and 
levers and cylinders to the already insane 
machinery of civilization, to make it 
function still more, insanely. Perhaps 
Mrs Fisher is the woman to undertake 
it ; certainly no man would ever have 

[88] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

the brilliant thoroughness to carry It 
through. She will, I believe, first reveal 
herself in a series of embarrassing gifts 
to civilization : cheap and unsafe family- 
aeroplanes, synthetic food at a nominal 
cost, an effective death-ray, a perfectly 
simple fool-proof contraceptive that is 
at the same time an effective cestruific, 
a new humanitarian religion based on 
the left-handed Sakta cult, an un- 
detectible poison (of which she alone 
has the antidote) with an unrestricted 
sale at all grocer's shops, and an infallible 
system of prognosticating the winners of 
horse- and dog-races. After that she 
will proclaim herself Dictator and take 
the whole control of the State, which 
because of the Death Ray will also be 
the World State, and ride in a coach and 
six, and swim the Atlantic and Pacific 
oceans on a tour of her provinces, and 
marry M. Judy, the French President, 

[89] 



MRS FISHER 

in St Peter's at Rome and compel him 
to take her name and become Mr Fisher 
(after which she will sacramentally eat 
him). 

In the concluding years of Mrs Fisher's 
reign there will be no half-and-half jokes 
made anywhere. When the comedian 
slips on the banana-skin and falls 
downstairs he will invariably break his 
neck ; in the stage-duel the combatants 
will neatly run each other through 
simultaneously ; the prima ballerina, 
instead of throwing souvenir dolls among 
the audience will throw little bombs of 
poison-gas ; the curtain will not be 
dropped on the crisis of the bedroom 
farce. There will be a strict control of 
the publishing trade : no fiction will be 
permitted unless plainly libellous and 
no historical treatise unless containing 
a reasonable proportion of mischievous 
and entirely plausible mis-statements. [I 

[90] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

recently anticipated Mrs Fisher in an 
essay on Rudyard Kipling in which, 
meaning to write Recessional, I un- 
intentionally and exquisitely condemned 
him as the author of Land of Hope and 
Glory. Since then I have read his 
new Book of Words and wish that I had 
credited him with the Eton Boating Song 
too.] Finally Mrs Fisher will experiment 
in organic chemistry and re-people the 
world with dragons, gorgons, sabre- 
toothed tigers, and the earlier varieties of 
man. She will make all single flowers 
double and standardize the rose as 
thornless, scentless, blue, and perpetually 
flowering. She will condemn all existing 
sewage-schemes and replace them with 
others of her own having a marked 
tendency to retro-activity. She will 
control the world weather in a whimsical 
manner and insist that everyone of fifty 
years of age and over, or, alternatively* 

[91] 



MRS FISHER 

with an income exceeding three hundred 
pounds a year, shall run about naked. 
She will institute compulsory opera with 
community singing of the tenor parts. 
Her standardized designs for lampshades, 
tea-services, cruets, cretonnes, and sofas 
will make the present goddawful look 
goddlovely by contrast. In her edicts 
and dispensation of justice she will make 
the Emperor Claudius Caesar himself, 
who alone of the ancients seems to have 
had a futuristic sense of humour, look 
a mere Joe Miller. She will exterminate 
the so-called Latin races and hand over 
their lands, industries and languages 
to the British unemployed. She will 
insist on the continued use of the phrase 
" The progress of Civilization ". When 
her invention flags and she sees the 
whole perfectly utterly goddawful 
raving world prostrate and paralysed 
before her, she will quite simply 

[92] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

commit suicide by putting her head in 
a gas-oven. 

Perhaps the Mrs Fisher millennium 
is not so hopelessly distant. She has at 
any rate an Elijah in James Joyce from 
whose Work in Progress I quote part of 
the Ant and Grasshopper fable : 

Behailed the Ondt with unshrinkables 
draping from his unthinkables, swarming 
of himself in his sunnyroom, sated before 
his comfortumble phullupsuppy of a 
plate o* monkynous and a confucion of 
minthe (for he was a conformed aris- 
totaller) as appi as a oneysucker or a 
baskerboy on the Libido with Floh biting 
his big thigh and Luse lugging his left 
leg and Bienie bussing him under his 
bonnet and Vespatilla blowing cosy fond 
tut ties up the large of his smalls. Emmet 
and demmet and be jiltses crazed and be 
jadeses whipt ! schneezed the Gracehoper 
at his wittol's end what have eyef or sight. 

[93] 



MRS FISHER 

The Ondt was making the greatest spass 
a body could for he was spizzing all over 
him in formicolation, boundlessly bliss- 
filled in an aUallahbath of houris. He 
was ameising himself hugely, chasing 
Floh out of charity and tickling Luse, I 
hope too, and tackling Bienie, faith as 
well, and catching Vespatilla by the end. 
Never did Dorcan from Dunshangan 
dance it with more devilry ! The 
veripateticr figure of the Gracehoper on 
his odderkop in the rnyre, actually 
and presuinptuably sinctifying chronic's 
despair, was sufficiently too much for 
his chorous of gravitates. 

He larved and he larved and he merd such 
a naus 

That the Gracehoper feared he would mis- 
place his jaws. 

I began by saying that the gap cannot 
be filled. On reconsideration, I add, 

[94] 



THE FUTURE OF HUMOUR 

" Except by Mrs Fisher/' And close 
with a remark of R's, whom I once 
seriously asked : " How could one write 
a legend about an angel and a cuckoo ? " 
and who answered ^seriously : "One 
would have to ,,bu|Mvr^ up from the 
cuckoo." 



[95] 



' A precious document upon 
tlie present time* 1 NATION. 



TO-DAY AND 
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Each, pott 8vo, boards, 2/6 net 

THIS series of books, by some of the 
A most distinguished English thinkers, 
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as a noteworthy event. Written from 
various points of view, one book frequently 
opposing the argument of another, they 
provide the reader with a survey of 
numerous aspects of most modern thought. 
" That very lively and courageous series." 
Spectator. t( A remarkable series." 
Observer. t( This admirable series of pro- 
vocative and brilliant essays/' Daily 
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to express deep admiration for this 
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standard of thought and expression they 
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Published by 

KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., LTJX 
Broadway House : 68-74 Carter Lane, London, E.C-4 



CLASSIFIED INDEX 

GENERAL PAGE 

Daedalus, or Science and the Future. J. B. S. Ha dane . . 3 

Icarus, or the Future of Science. Bertrand Russell . . 5 

Tantalus, or the Future of Man. F. C. S. Schiller . . . 6 

Quo Vadimus ? Glimpses of the Future. E. E. Fournier D'Albe . 6 

Socrates, or the Emancipation of Mankind. H. F. Carlill . .16 
What I Believe. Bertrand Russell ..... 5 

Sibylla, or the Revival of Prophecy. C. A. Mace . . .13 

The Next Chapter. Andr6 Maurois . . . . .18 

Kalki, or the Future of Civilization. S. Radhakrishnan . . 4 

Diogenes, or the Future of Leisure. C. E. M. Joad . . -23 

The Dance of iva, Life's Unity and Rhythm. Collum . .15 

MARRIAGE AND MORALS 

Hypatia, or Woman and Knowledge. Dora Russell . . 7 
Lysistrata, or Woman's Future and Future Woman. A. M. Ludovici 7 

Hymen, or the Future of Marriage. Norman Haire . . .18 

Thrasymachus or the Future of Morals. C. E. M. Joad . . 7 

Birth Control and the State. C. P. Blacker . . .12 

Romulus, of the Future of the Child. R. T. Lewis . . .4 

Lares et Penates, or the Home of the Future. H. J, Birnstingl . 21 

SCIENCE AND MEDICINE 

Gallio, or the Tyranny of Science. J. W. N. Sullivan . 16 

Archimedes, or the Future of Physics. L. L. Whyte . . .20 

Eos, or the Wider Aspects of Cosmogony. J. H. Jeans . . 23 

Hermes, or the Future of Chemistry. T. W. Jones . . .20 
Prometheus, or Biology and the Advancement of Man. H. S. Jennings 8 

Galatea, or the Future of Darwinism. W. Russell Brain . . 8 

Apollonius, or the Future of Psychical Research. E. N. Bennett . 16 

Metanthropos, or the Future of the Body. R. C. Macfie . . 22 

Morpheus, or the Future of Sleep. D. F. Fraser-Harris . .21 
The Conquest of Cancer. H. W. S. Wright .... 8 

Pygmalion, or the Doctor of the Future. R. McNair Wilson . 8 
Automaton, or the Future of the Mechanical Man. H. S. Hatfield . 24 

INDUSTRY AND THE MACHINE 

Ouroboros, or the Mechanical Extension of Mankind. G. Garrett 12 

Vulcan, or the Future of Labour. Cecil Chisholm . . .18 

Typhoeus, or the Future of Socialism. Arthur Shadwell . . 4 

Hephaestus, or the Soul of the Machine. E. E. Fournier D'Albe . y 

Artifex, or the Future of Craftsmanship. John Gloag . .12 

Pegasus, or Problems of Transport. J. F. C. Fuller . .11 

Aeolus, or the Future of the Flying Machine. Oliver Stewart . 17 

Wireless Possibilities. A. M. Low . . .10 

WAR 

Janus or the Conquest of War. William McDougall . . 17 

Paris, or the Future of War. B. H. Liddell Hart , . 10 

Callinicus a Defence of Chemical Warfare, J. B. S. Haldane . 6 

FOOD AND DRINK 

Lucullus, or the Food of the Future. Olga Hartley and C, F. Leyel 14 

Bacchus, or the Future of Wine, P. Morton Shand. , .20 



[2] 



CLASSIFIED INDEX 

SOCIETY AND THE STATE PAGE 

Archon, or the Future of Government. Hamilton Fyfe . .18 

Cain, or the Future of Crime. George Godwin . . .21 

Autolyciis, or the Future for Miscreant Youth. R. G. Gordon - 33 

Lycurgus, or the Future of Law. E. S. P. Haynes . .10 
Stentor, or the Press of To-Day and To-Morrow. David Ockham 17 

Nuntius, or Advertising and its Future. Gilbert Russell . . .12 

Rusticus, or the Future of the Countryside. Martin S. Briggs . 17 
Procrustes, or the Future of English Education. M. Alderton Pink 14 

Alma Mater, or the Future of the Universities. Julian Hall . 24 

Apella, or the Future of the Jews. A Quarterly Reviewer . 15 

Eutychus, or the Future of the Pulpit. Winifred Holtby . .24 

Vicisti Galilaee ? or The Church of England. E. B. Powley . 4 

GREAT BRITAIN, THE EMPIRE, AND AMERICA 

Cassandra, or the Future of the British Empire. F. C. S. Schiller , 6 

Caledonia, or the Future of the Scots. G. Malcolm Thomson . ig 

Albyn or Scotland and the Future. C. M. Grieve . . . *9 

Hibernia, or the Future of Ireland. Bolton C. Waller . .22 

Columbia, or the Future of Canada. George Godwin . . 4 

Achates, or Canada in the Empire. W. Eric Harris , . 4 

Shiva, or the Future of India. R. J. Minney . . .24 

Plato's American Republic. J. Douglas Woodruff . . . 13 
Midas, or the United States and the Future. C. H, Bretherton n 

Atlantis, or America and the Future. J. F. C, Fuller . . .11 

LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 

Pomona, or the Future of English. Basil de Selincourt . .14 

Breaking Priscian's Head. J. Y. T. Greig . . . .21 

Lars Porsena, or the Future of Swearing. Robert Graves 15 
Delphos. or the Future of International Language. E, Sylvia Pankhurst 16 
Scheherazade or the Future of the English Novel. John Carruthers 1 9 

Thamyris, or Is There a Future for Poetry ? R. C. Trevelyan . g 

The Future of Futurism. John Rodker . - . . x 4 

Mrs Fisher or the Future of Humour. Robert Graves . .24 

ART, ARCHITECTURE, MUSIC, DRAMA, ETC. 

Euterpe,, or the Future oi Art. Lionel R. McColvin .' .11 

Proteus, or the Future of Intelligence. Vernon Lee . . 9 

Balbus, or the Fmture of Architecture. Christian Barman . 15 

Orpheus, or the Music of the Future. W. J. Turner . . . 13 

Terparider, or Music and the Future. E, J. Dent . . . *3 

Eurydice, or the Future of Opera. Dyneley Hussey . . 4 

Iconoclastes, or the Future of Shakespeare. Hubert Griffith . 19 

Timotheus, or the Future of the Theatre. Bonamy Dobree . 9 

Heraclitus, or the Future of Films. Ernest Betts . .22 

SPORT AND EXPLORATION 

Atalanta, or the Future of Sport. G. S. Sandilands . .20 

Fortuna, or Chance and Design. Norwood Young . . .23 

Harmo or the Future of Exploration . . . .22 

MISCELLANEOUS 

Narcissus, an Anatomy of Clothes. Gerald Heard . -9 

Perseus, of Dragons. H. F. Scott Stokes . . . *a 



[3] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

JUST PUBLISHED 

TypfaoeeSj or the Future of Socialism. 
By ARTHUR SHADWELX. 

** Invaluable, a miracle of compression and 
illumination." Yorkshire Post. ft He has 
almost unequalled knowledge and is largely 
free from bias." Philip Snowden, in Daily 
Hey aid. 

Romulus, or the Future of the Child. 
By ROBERT T. LEWIS. 

" This interesting and stimulating book 
should be read, not only by parents, but by 
all who care anything at all about the future 
of the race." Daily Chronicle. 
Kalki, or the Future of Civilization. By 
S. RADHAKRISHNAN. 

A "well-known Indian philosopher sum- 
marizes from his own point of view the trend 
of world civilization for the next two or three 
generations. 

VicistI, Galllaee ? or Religion in Eng- 
land. By EDWARD B. POWLEY. 

A sincere and scholarly survey of past 
history leads to a forecast of future possi- 
bilities in the Church. 

Columbia, or the Future of Canada. By 
GEORGE GODWIN, author of ' Cain \ 

The future of Canada is worked out from 
the political, economic, social, and other view 
points. The possibility of Canada's union with 
America is discussed. 

Achates, or the Future of Canada in 
the Empire, By W. ERIC HARRIS. 

An answer to Columbia. 

Eurydlce, or the Future of Opera. By 
DYNELBY HUSSBY, author of "Mozart". 

What is the nature of opera, and what are 
its prospects ? 

[4] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 



An entertaining series of vivacious and stimu- 
lating st^ldie3 of modern tendencies.*' XIMSS 

LITBRARY SUPPLEMENT. 



VOLUMES READY 

Daedalus, or Science and the Future, 
By J. B. S. HALDANE, Reader in 
Biochemistry, University of Cambridge. 
Eighth impression. 

" A fascinating and daring little book." 

Westminster Gazelle,. " The essay is brilliant, 
sparkling with wit and bristling with 
challenges/' British Medical Journal. 

" Predicts the most startling changes/ 8 

Morning Post. 

Icarus, or the Future of Science. By 
BERTRAND RUSSELL, F.R.S. Fourth 
impression. 

" Utter pessimism/* Observer. ** Mr 
Russell refuses to believe that the progress 
of Science must be a boon to mankind." 
Morning Post. ** A stimulating book, that 
leaves one not at all discouraged." Daily 
Herald. 



What I Believe* By BERTRAND 
F.R.S. Fourth impression* 

One of the most brilliant and thought- 
stimulating little books 1 have read' a better 

book even, than Icarus.*' Nation. te Simply 
and brilliantly written/* Nature* * Is 

stabbing sentences he punctures the bubble of 
cruelty, envy, narrowness, and ill-will which 
those in authority call their morals/*' New 
Leader. 

[5 ] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Callinicus, a Defence of Chemical War- 
fare. By J. B. S. HALDANE. Second 
impression. 

" Mr Haldane's brilliant study." Times 
heading Article. " A book to be read by every 

intelligent adult/* Spectator. " This brilliant 
little monograph." Daily News. 

Tantalus, or the Future of Man. By 

F. C. S. SCHILLER, D.Sc., Fellow ol 
Corpus Christ! College, Oxford* Second 

impression. 

"They are "all (Daedalus, Icarus, and 
Tantalus) brilliantly clever, and they supple- 
ment or correct one another." Dean Inge t 
In Fleming Post. " Immensely valuable and 
infinitely readable.*' Daily News. ** The 
book of the week/* Spectator. 

Cassandra* or the Future of the British 
Empire. By F. C. S. SCHILLER, D.Sc 
Second impression* 

" We commend it to the complacent of all 
parties." Saturday lleviezv. ""The book is 
small, but very, -very weighty ; brilliantly 
written, it ought to be read by all shades oj 
politicians and students of politics/* York- 
$Jiiy& .Po st. " Yet another addition to that 
bright constellation of pamphletq,/* Spectator* 

Quo Vaditnes ? Glimpses of the Future. 
By E. E. FOURNIER D'ALBE^ D.Sc, 
Second impression* 

** A wonderful vision of the future. A book 

that will be talked about." Daily Graphic. 
*' A remarkable contribution to a remarkable 

series/* Manchester Dispatch. " Interesting 
nnd singularly plausible/' Daily Telegraph* 

[6] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Tlirasymaclius, the Future of Morals. 
By C. K. M. Jo AD. Third impression* 
" His provocative book.'* Graphic. 

* Written in a style of deliberate brilliance/" 
-Times Literary Supplement. " As outspoken 
and unequivocal a contribution as could -well 
be imagined. Even those readers who dissent 
will be forced to recognize the admirable 
clarity with, which he states his case. A book 
that will startle." Daily Chronicle. 

Lysistrata, or Woman's Future and 

Future Woman. By ANTHONY M. 
LUDOVICI, author of " A Defence of 
Aristocracy/' etc. Second impression* 
" A stimulating book. Volumes would be 
needed to deal, in the fulness his work pro- 
vokes, with all the problems raised/* Sunday 
Times. " Pro-feminine but anti-feministic. " 
Scotsman. " Full of brilliant common- 
sense." Observer. 

Hypatia, or Woman and Knowledge, By 

MRS BERTRAND RUSSELL. With a 
frontispiece. Third impression. 

An answer to Lysistrata. ** A passionate 
vindication of the rights of woman." 
MancJi&ster Guardian. tg Says a number of 
things that sensible women have been wanting 
publicly said for a long time." Daily Herald. 

Hephaestus, the Soul of the Machine* 
By E. E. FOURNIER D'ALBE, D.Sc. 

** A worthy contribution to this interesting 
series, A delightful and thought-provoking 
essay/* Birmingham Post. " There is a 
special pleasure in meeting with a book like 
Hephaestus. The attthor lias the merit of really 
understanding what he is talking about." 
Engineering . *' An exceedingly clever 
defence of machinery." Architects* Journal* 

[7] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

The Conquest of Cancer. By H. W. S. 
WRIGHT, M.S., F.R.C.S. Introduction 
by F. G. CROOKSHANK, M.D. 

" Eminently suitable for general reading, 
The problem is fairly and lucidly presented,, 
One merit of Mr Wright's plan is that he tells 
people what, in his judgrq.ent, tliey can best 
do, here and now." From, the Introduction. 

Pygmalion, or the Doctor of the Future. 

By R. McNAiR WILSON, M.B. 

" Dr Wilson has added a brilliant essay 
to this series/' Times Literary Supplement, 
" This is a very little book, but there is much 
wisdom in it." Evening Standard. " No 
doctor worth his salt would venture to say that 
Dr Wilson was wrong." Daily Herald. 

Prometheus, or Biology and the Ad- 
vancement of Man. By H. S. JENNINGS, 
Professor of Zoology, Johns Hopkins 
University. Second impression. 

" This volume is one of the most remarkable 
that has yet appeared in this series. Certainly 
the information it contains will be new to most 
educated laymen. It is essentially a discussion 
of ... heredity and environment, and it 
clearly establishes the fact that the current 
use of these terms has no scientific 
justification." Times Literary Supplement. 
"An exceedingly brilliant book/* New Leader. 

Galatea* or the Future of Darwinism. 
By W. RUSSELL BRAIN. 

" A brilliant exposition of the present 
position of the evolutionary hypothesis ; 

he writes clearly and temperately." Guardian. 
" Should prove invaluable. A stimulating 
and well-written essay/* Literary Guide. 
" His destructive criticism of the materialist 
and mechanist philosophy, biology,, and 
physics is superb/' G. JK.'s Weekly. 

[8] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Narcissus : an Anatomy of Clothes. By 
GERALD HEARD. With 19 illustrations. 
Second impression. 

" A most suggestive book/* Nation. 
" Irresistible. Reading it is like a switchback 
journey. Starting from prehistoric times we 
rocket down the ages/' Daily News. 
** Interesting, provocative, and entertaining/* 
Queen. 

Thamyris, or Is There a Future for 
Poetry ? By R. C. TREVELYAN. 

" Learned, sensible, and very well -written/* 
- Affable Hawk, in New Statesman. " Very 
suggestive/' J. C. Squire^ in Observer, 
'* A very charming piece of work, I agree 
with all, or at any /ate, almost all its con- 
clusions/' -J . St. JLo& Strachey, in Spectator. 

Proteus, or the Future of Intelligence. 

By VERNON LEE, author of " Satan the 
Waster/* etc. 

" We should like to follow tle author's 
suggestions as to the effect of intelligence on 

the future of Ethics, Aesthetics, and Manners. 
Her "book is profoundly stimulating and should 
be read by everyone/' OtUlook. " A concise, 
suggestive piece of work/* Saturday Review, 

Timotheus, the Future of the Theatre. 
By BON AMY DOBRISE, author of "Restor- 
ation Drama," etc. 

"' A \vitty, mischievous little "book, to be 
read with delight/* Times Literary Supple- 
ment. " This is a delightfully witty book." 
Scotsman. '* In a subtly satirical vein he 
visualizes various kinds of theatres in 200 years' 
time. His gay little book makes delightful 
reading/* Nation. 

[9] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Paris* or the Future of War. By Captain 

B. H. LIDDEUL. HART. 

" A companion volume to Callinicus. 
A gem of close thinking and deduction/ 5 
Observer. " A noteworthy contribution to 
a problem of concern to every citizen in this 
country." Daily Chronicle. " There is some 
lively thinking about the future of war in 
Paris, just added to this set of live- wire 
pamphlets on big subjects/* JManchest&y 
Guardian. 

Wireless Possibilities. By Professor 
A. JVL Low. With 4 diagrams. 

*" As might be expected from an inventor 
who is always so fresh, he has many inter- 
esting things to say/' Evening Standard. 
* 'The mantle of Blake has fallen upon the 
physicists. To them we look for visions, and 
we find them in this book/' New Statesman* 

Perseus : of Dragons. B3^ K. F. SCOIT 
STOKES. With 2 illustrations. 

" A diverting little book, chock-full of Ideas 
Mr Stokes* dragon -lore is both quaint and 
various/* Morning Post. '* Very am using Iy 
written, and a mine of curious knowledge for 
which, the discerning reader will find naany 
uses/* Glasgow Herald. 

JLyciirgiis, or the Future of Law. By 
E. S. P. HAYNES^ author of "Concerning 
Solicitors/' etc. 

" An interesting and concisely written book/' 
Yorkshire Post. i( He roundly declares that 
English criminal law is a blend of barbaric 
violence, medieval prejudices and modern 
fallacies. ... A humane and conscientious 
investigation/' T.P/s Weekly. ''A thought- 
ful book deserves careful reading/' Law 
Times. 

[10] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Euterpe ? or the Future of Art. By 
LIONEL R. MCCOLVIN > author of ** The 
Theory of Book-Selection." 

* 4 Discusses briefly, but very suggestively, 
tbe problem of the future of art in relation to 
the public/* Saturday 'Review. " Another 
indictment of machinery as a soul -destroyer 
. . . Mr Colvin has the courage to suggest 
solutions ." Westminster Gazette. " This is 
altogether a much-needed book/* A 7 z*y 
Leader. 

Pegasus? or Problems of Transport. 
By Colonel J. F. C. FULLER, author of 
" The Reformation of War/' etc. With 
8 Plates. 

** The foremost military prophet of the day 
propounds a solution for industrial and 
unemployment problems. It is a bold essay 
. . . and calls for the attention of all con- 
cerned with imperial problems." Daily 
Telegraph. " Practical, timely, very inter- 
esting and very important." J. St. Loe 
S track ey, in Spectator. 

Atlantis, or America and the Future* 
By Colonel J. F. C. FUIXER. 

'* Candid and caustic." Observer. " Many 
hard things have been said about America, 
but few quite so bitter and caustic as these." 
Daily Sketch. " He can conjure up possi- 
bilities of a new Atlantis/' Clarion. 

Midas, or the United States and the 
Future. By C. H. BRETIIERTON, author 
of " The Real Ireland/* etc. 

A companion volume to Atlantis. ** Full of 
astute observations and acute reflections . . . 
this wise and -witty pamphlet, a provocation 
to tlae thought that is creative/' Morning 
Post. " A punch, in every paragraph. One 
could hardly ask for more 'meat V' Spectator. 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Nentios, or Advertising and Its Future* 
By GILBERT RUSSELL. 

" Expresses the philosophy of advertising 
concisely and well. " Observer. " It is doubt- 
ful if a more straightforward exposition of 
the part advertising plays in our public and 
private life has been written." Maiickestey 
Guardian. 

Birth Control and the State : a Plea 
and a Forecast. By C. P. BLACKER, 

M.C., M.A., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. 

" A very careful summary." Times Literary 
Supplement. " A temperate and scholarly 
survey of the arguments for and against the 
encouragement of the practice oi birth control/' 
Lancet. " H.e -writes lucidly, moderately, 
and from wide knowledge ; his book un- 
doubtedly gives a better understanding of the 
subject than any other brief account we know. 
It also suggests a policy/* SaZwa^y JReuiew. 

Ouroboros, or the Mechanical Extension 
of Mankind. By CARET GARRETT. 

" This brilliant and provoking little book/' 
Observer. " A significant and thoughtful 
essay, calculated in parts to make our flesh 
creep/* Spectator. " A brilliant writer, Mr 
Garrett is a remarkable man. He explains 
something of the enormous change the machine 
nas made in life/' Daily Express. 

Artifex, or the Future of Craftsmanship. 
By JOHN GLOAG, author of " Time 
Taste, and Furniture/* 

il An able and interesting summary of the 
history of craftsmanship in the past, a direct 
criticism of the present, and at the end his 
riopes for the future. Mr Gloag's real con- 
tribution to the future of craftsmanship is 
bis discussion of the uses of machinery/* 
Times Literary Supplement. 
[12] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Plato's American Republic. By JL 
DOUGLAS WOODRUFF. Fourth impression* 
" Uses the form of the Socratic dialogue 
with, devastating success. A gently malicious 
wit sparkles in every page/' Sunday Times. 
" Having deliberately set himself an almost 
impossible task, has succeeded beyond belief." 
Sat^irday Review. " Quite the liveliest 
even of this spirited series/' Observer. 

Orpheus* or the Music of the Future. By 
W. J. TURNER, author of '* Music and 
Life/' Second impression. 

" A book on music that we can read not 
merely once, but twice or tlirice. Mr Turner 
has given us some of the finest thinking upon 
Beethoven that I have ever met with/* - 
Ernest Newman in S-unday Times. ""A 
brilliant essay in contemporary philosophy/' 
Outlook. lc The fruit of real knowledge and 
understanding/' New Statesman. 

Terpander, or Music and the Future. By 

E. J* DENT, author of "Mozart's Operas/* 
" In Orpheus Mr Turner made a brilliant 
voyage in search of first principles. Mr Dent's 
book is a skilful review of the development of 
niiisic. It is the most succinct and stimulating 
essay on music I have found. . . ."Musical 
Neivs. *' Remarkably able and stimulating/* 
- Times Literary Sv,t>pfele)nen. " There is hardly 
another critic alive who could sum up contem- 
porary tendencies so neatly/* Spectator. 
Sibylla, or the Revival of Prophecy. By 
C- A. MACE, University of St. Andrew's. 
"An entertaining and instructive pamphlet/' 
JMorning Post, " Places a nightmare before 
us very ably and wittily /* -Spectator. 
"* Passages in it are excellent satire, but oo 
the whole Mr Mace's speculations may be 
taken as a trustworthy guide ... to modern 
scientific thought." Birmingham Post. 

[13 3 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Lucullus, or the Food of the Future. By 

OLGA HARTLEY and MRS C. F. LEYEL, 
authors of "The Gentle Art of Cookery." 
" This is a clever and witty little volume 
in an entertaining series, and it makes enchant- 
ing reading/' Times Literary Supplement. 
" Opens with a brilliant picture of modern 
man, living in a vacuum-cleaned, steam- 
heated, credit-furnished suburban mansion 
* with a wolf in the basement 3 the wolf o 
hunger. This banquet of epigrams/' 
Spectator. 

Procrustes, or the Future of English 
Education. By M. ALDERTON PINK. 

" Undoubtedly he makes out a very good 
case/' Daily Htvald. *' This interesting 
addition to the series/' Times Educational 
Supplement. " Intends to be challenging and 
succeeds in being so. All fit readers will find 
it stimulating/' Northern Echo. 

The Future of Futurism. By JOHN 
RODKER. 

" Mr Rodker is up-to-the-minute, and he 
has accomplished a considerable feat in writing 
on such a vague subject, 92 extremely inter- 
esting pages/' T. S. Eliot, in Nation. " There 
are a good many things in this book which 
are of interest/' Times Literary Supplement. 

Pomoiia, or the Future of English. By 
BASIL DE SSLINCOURT, author of '* The 
English Secret/' etc. 

" The future of English is discussed fully 
and with fascinating interest/' Morning 
Post. " Full of wise thoughts and happy 
words/* Times Literary Supplement. ** His 
later pages must stir the blood of any man 
who loves his country and her poetry. " /. C. 
Squire, in Observer. " His finely-conceived 
essay/* Manchester Guardian. 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Balbus, or the Future of Architecture,, 
By CHRISTIAN BARMAN. 

"' A really brilliant addition to this already 
distinguished series. The reading of Balbua 
will give much data for intelligent prophecy, 
and incidentally, an hour or so of excellent 
entertainment."' Spectator. " Most readable 
and reasonable. We can recommend it 
warmly." New Statesman, ** This intriguing 
little book/' Connoisseur. 

Apella, or the Future of the Jews. By 

A QUARTERLY REVIEWER. 

44 Cogent, because of brevity and a magni- 
ficent prose style, this book wins our quiet 
praise. It is a fine pamphlet, adding to the 
value of the series, and should not be missed." 
- Spectator. " A notable addition to this 
excellent series. His arguments are a provoca- 
tion to fruitful thinking." Morning Post. 

The Dance of Giva* or Life's Unity and 
Rhythm. By COIXUM. 

" It lias substance and thought in it. The- 
author is very much alive and responsive to 
the movements of to-day." Spectator. " A 
very interesting account of the work of Sir 
Jagadis Bose." 'Oxford Magazine. " Has 
caught the spirit of the Eastern conception of 
\yorlcl movements." Calcutta Statesman. 

Lars Forsena, or the Future of Swearing 
and Improper Language. By ROBERT 
GRAVES. Fourth impression. 

" Goes uncommonly well, and deserves 
to." Observer. ** Not for squeamish readers." 
Spectator. " No more amusingly unexpected- 
contribution has been made to this series. 
A deliciously ironical affair/* Bystander. 
"' His highly entertaining essay is as full as 
the current standard of printers and police 
will allow."- N#w Slate snutn. * Humour and 
style are beyond criticism." Irish Statesman*. 

[15] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Socrates, or the Emancipation of Man- 
kind. By H. F. CARLILL. 

*' JDevotes a specially lively section to the 
herd instinct/' Times. " Clearly, and with 
a balance that is almost Aristotelian, be 
reveals what modern psychology is going to 
accomplish/' New Statesman. " One of the 
most brilliant and important of a remarkable 
series.** Westminster Gazette. 

Delptios, or the Future of International 
Language. By E. SYLVIA PANKHURST. 

" Equal to anything yet produced in this 
brilliant series. Miss Pankhurst states very 
clearly what all thinking people rmist soon 
come to believe, that an international language 
would be one of the greatest assets of civiliza- 
tion/* Spectator. " A most readable book, 
full of enthusiasm, an important contribution 
to this subject/' International Language. 

Gallic, or the Tyranny of Science. By 
J. W. N. SULLIVAN, author of " A 
History of Mathematics." 

" So packed with ideas that it is not possible 
to give any adequate resume* of its contents/* 
Times Literary Supplement. " His remark- 
able monograph, his devastating summary of 
materialism, this pocket Novum Orgamtm." 
Spectator. " Possesses a real distinction of 
thought and manner. It must be read/* 
N~ew Statesman. 

Apollonius, or the Future of Psychical 
Research. By E. N. BENNETT, author 
of " Problems of Village Life/' etc. 

"* A sane, temperate and suggestive survey 
of a field of inquiry which is slowly but surely 
pushing to the front/' Times Literary Supple- 
ment. " His exposition of the case for psychic 
research is lucid and interesting/* Scotsman. 
" ^Displays the right temper, admirably con- 
ceived, skilfully executed/* Liverpool Post, 

[16] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Aeolus ^ or the Future of the Flying 
Machine. By OLIVER STEWART. 

c * Both his wit and his expertness save him 
from the nonsensical-fantastic. There is 
nothing vague or sloppy in these imaginative 
forecasts."" Daily News. " He is to be con- 
gratulated. His book is small, but it is so 
delightfully funny that it is well worth the 
price, and there really are sensible ideas 
behind the jesting/* Aeroplane* 
Steetor, or the Press of To-Day and 
To-Morrow. By DAVLD OCKHAM. 

" A valuable and exceedingly interesting 
commentary on a vital phase of modern de- 
velopment." Daily Herald. " Vigorous and 
well- written, eminently readable.*' Yorkshire 

Post. " He has said what one expects any 
sensible person to say about the ' trustifica- 
tion of the Press V Spectator. 

Rustlcus, or the Future of the Country- 
side. By MARTIN S. BRIGGS, F.R.I.B.A. 

** Few of the 50 volumes, provocative and 
brilliant as most of them have been, capture 
our imagination as does this one/* Daily 

Telegraph. " The historical part is as brilliant 
a piece of packed writing as could be desired.*' 
-Daily Herald. " Serves a national end. The 

book is in essence a pamphlet, though it has 
the form and charm of a book.*' Spectator. 

Janes* or the Conquest of War. By 
WILLIAM MCDOUGALL, M.B., F.R.S* 

* f Among all the booklets of this brilliant 
series, none, I think is so weighty and im- 
pressive as this. It contains thrice as much, 

matter as the other volumes, and is profoundly 
serious/' Deun Inge,, in Evening Standard* 
** A deeply interesting and fair-minded study 
of the causes of war and the possibilities of 
tlieir prevention. Every word is sound/' 
Spectator. 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Vuican, or the Future of Labour. By 
CECIL CHISHOLM. 

" Of absorbing interest/' Daily Herald. 
" No one, perhaps, has ever held the balance 
so nicely "between technicalities and flights of 
fancy, as the author of this excellent book 
in a brilliant series. Between its covers 
knowledge and vision are pressed down and 
brimming over/* Spectator. 

Hymen, or the Future of Marriage. By 
NORMAN HAIRE. Third impression* 

'* Has something serious to say, something 
that may be ol value, Dr Haire is, fortunate- 
ly, as lucid as he is bold," Saturday Review* 
" An electrifying addition to the series/' 
Sphere. " Not cheerful reading. Yet in 
spite of this we feel that the book repays 
perusal/* Spectator. " A very good book, 
brilliant, arresting/' Sunday Worker. 

The Next Chapter : the War against 
the Moon. By ANDRES MAUROIS. 

" This delicate and delightful phantasy 
presented with consummate art/* Spectator. 
" Short but withering! y sarcastic/* Field. 
'* Admirably parodies the melancholy and 
superior tone of a history -book . . /* T~imes 
Literary Supplement. ** A delicious skit 
on the newspaper ' stunt *, and a whole- 
some satire on some of the abiding weaknesses 
of mankind/ 7 Daily Telegraph. 

Archon, or the Future of Government, 
By HAMILTON FYFE,, 

" Well ivritten and abounds in epigram. 

This is a brave and sincere book/* Economic 
Review. " As stern a critic of our present 
Party system as any Tory could be/' H. W. 

Nevinson } in Daily Herald. *' A brochure 

that thinking people will discuss." Spectator. 
ft A timely exposure of the hypocrisy of 
politics/'' Harold Cox? in Sunday Times* 

[18] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 
Scheherazade* or the Future of the 
English Novel. By JOHN CARRUTHERS. 

" An. entertaining and stimulating book 
which no novel-reader should fail to study/' 
Osoert Sitwell, in. Daily Mirror. "" A brilliant 
essay and, I think, a true one. It deserves 
the attention of all in any way interested 
critically in the novel/* Gcofjry Wtst, in 
Daily Herald. 

Iconoclastes, or the Future of Shake- 
speare. "By HUBERT GRIFFITH. 

" To my disappointment I found myself 
In complete agreement with nearly all its 
author's arguments. There is much that 
is vital and arresting in what he has to say/* 
Nigel JPlayfaiy^ii'i Jvetiiiig Standard, " With 
much that ]\1r Griffith says 1 entirely agree/* 
Saturda y Keview . 

Caledonia, or the Future of the Scots. 

By G. M. THOMSON. Second impression* 
" Not since the late T. "W. H. Croslancl has 
anything like so amazing an indictment of 
Scotland appeared." -Westminster Gazette. 
"It is relentless and terrible in its exposure 
of the realities that underlie the myth of the 
canny Scot '. I have found scarcely an 
exaggeration in the whole of this brilliant 
book/' "Irish Statesman. " As a piece of 
incisive writing and powerful, though re- 
strained^ invective, Caledonia is specially 
notable/* Spectator. 

Albyn, or Scotland and the Future. By 
C. M. GRIEVE, author of * Contemporary 
Scottish Studies/ etc. 

'* A vigorous answer, explicit and implicit, 
to Caledonia , tracing behind the scenes 
the development of a real Scottish renascence. 
Contains stuff for thought/' Spectator* 
*' The book of a man genuinely concerned 
about the future/* Glasgow New*. 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Bacchus, or the Future of Wine. By 
P. MORTON SHAND, 

" Very sound sense." Times Literary 
Supplement. " A learned and amusingly 
written book on wine/* Daily Expre, 
" An entrancing little volume, prognosticat- 
ing the future of wine and wine-drinking, 
from a social, commercial, and more especially 
a vinous point of view/* Brewer and Wins 
Merchant. 

Hermes, or the Future of Chemistry. 

By T. W. JONES, B.Sc., F.C.S. 

" Tells us briefly, yet with brilliant clarity, 
what Chemistry is doing to-day, and what its 
achievements are likely to be in the future/* 
Morning Post. " A complete and readable 
survey of the chemical developments of to- 
day, making special reference to bio-chemistry, 
synthetic fuels, and catalysts/* Manchester 



Archimedes, or the Future of Physics, 

By L. L. WHYTE. 

" If the notion [of asymmetrical time] can 
be successfully applied to physics itself, the 
universal science will be born. That some 
great synthesis is on the way seems clear. 
One of the most suggestive accounts of it 
may be found in this fascinating volume." 

Times Literary Supplement. ** This book will 
be an inspiration. The writer is a clear and 
fearless thinker / J Discovery. 

Atalanta, or the Future of Sport. By 

G. S. SANDILANDS. 

** His provocative and most interesting 
book/' Daily Herald. " A candid and out- 
spoken personage with a talent for pungency 

in epigram. He covers the whole field/* 
Sheffield Telegraph. " Points out some of 

the pinnacles of unreason climbed by those 
trying to separate amateur from professional/ 
Manchester G^laydian. 
[ 20 ] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 
JLares et Penates, or the Home of the 

Future. By H. J. BIRNSTINGL. 

" Indicating vividly what may lie ahead if 
we allow our worship of the American ideal 
of industrial output for its own sake to pro- 
ceed undirected/' Country Life. " A piquant 
study of the labour-saving houses of- the 
future/' T.JP.'s Weekly. " Draws '.an appal- 
ling picture/' Evening Standard 1 ^ 

Breaking Prlscian's Head, or English 
as She will be Spoke and Wrote. By 
J. Y. T. GREIG, DXitt. 

" His vivacious book/' Daily Mail. 
tc The most vehement attack [on standard 
English] we have ever read. "We are equally 
amazed and amused/* Morning }?ost, " Very 
sensible suggestions for vivifying the English 
language/* Star. tc Such a rollicking book. 
He must be thanked." Spectator. 

Cain, or the Future of Crime. By 
GEORGE GODWIN. 

'* Compels the reader to think, whether he 
will or no/* Saturday Iteview. << A most 
interesting prophecy. Mr Godwin makes out 
a strong case against the stupidity and 
cruelty of our present dealings with crime/' 
Evening Standard. " Cheerfully devastat- 
ing/' Daily Herald. " His admirable 
book/' Outlook. 

Morpheus, or the Future of Sleep. By 
DAVID FRASER-HARRIS, MJD., D.Sc. 

" An interesting volume." Daily Mirror. 
*' Shews that the doctors do not as yet know 
much about the subject." Queen. " His 
arguments, clearly and ably presented, hold 
our interest. This is a book full of sound 
thinking and wise instruction/* Clarion. 

[21] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

Hibernla, or the Future of Ireland. By 
BOLTON C. WALLER. 

** An earnest and challenging piece of 
work." Irish Times. " A. serious, practical 
book, full of knowledge." Spectator. " Well- 
written, suggestive, and thoughtful, it should 
have a great circulation." Irish News. 
' ' Notable in a notable series . * * Foreign A f fairs. 
** A full and hopeful picture." Daily Herald. 

Hanno, or tlie Future of Exploration. 
By J. LESLIE MITCHELL 

** His wonderful little book, in which he 
confutes the popular notion that the explorer's 
task is finally fulfilled." Morning Post. 
' ' Stimulating, packed with eminently practical 
suggestions . ' * Times Litera ry Supplement . 
** His amusing and suggestive essay." Sphere. 

Metantliropos, or the Body of the Future. 
By R. CAMPBELL MACFIE, IX.D. 

" An exceptionally stimulating book, the 
work of a clear and imaginative thinker who 
can express his thoughts." Saturday Review. 
" Should certainly be read by a large public." 
Lancet. " Discourses wisely and humor- 
ously upon the changes which modern forms 
of civilization are likely to bring about in 
our bodily structure." New Leader. 

Heraclitus, or the Future of the Films. 

By ERNEST BETTS. 

" An entertaining book, full of sparkling 
and original ideas, which should stimulate 
Wardour Street to a more serious considera- 
tion of the artistic and moral aspects of the 
film industry/* Spectator. " A lively critic, 
who has obviously devoted close study to 
his subject." Daily News. 

T 22 1 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 
Eos* or the Wider Aspects of Cosmogony. 
By Sir J. H. JEANS, IX.D., F.R.S. 
With 6 JPlates Second Impression 

'* He has given us in simple and attractive 
language a fascinating summary of his 
tremendous conclusions, illustrated by some 
really beautiful photographs/' Times Literary 
Supplement* '* No book in tne series surpasses 
Eos in brilliance and profundity, for one of 
the best brains engaged in research gives us 
here the fruits of long labour in terms that 
all may understand." Spectator. 

Diogenes, or tlie Future of Leisure. By 
C. E. M. JOAD. 

" A brilliant and provocative volume.** 
Dean Inge, in Evening Standard. " The 
writing is vivid and good -humour edly trucu- 
lent. Those already in a state of grace 
will relish his epigrams, his slashing attacks, 
his forecasts of hideous development/* Times 
Literary Supplement. 

Fortuna, or Chance and Design, By 
NORWOOD YOUNG. 

** Chance is a fascinating subject, and this 
essay is both cheerful and ingenious. His 
study of the * laws of chance *, as illustrated 
in the game of roulette, his examination of 
horse-racing and the Stock Kxchange, are not 
meant for those who wish to acquire sudden 
fortunes/' T.P/s Weekly. 

Autolyciis, or the Future for Miscreant 
Youth. By R. G. GORDON, M.D., D.Sc, 

c * His clear and spirited presentation of 
the problem of the boy and girl offender 
should rekindle interest in the subj ect and help 
towards legislation. Many of us need to get 
rid of preconceived notions on the problems 
with which he deals and his admirable book 
should help us to put them in the lumber- 
room/' Times ^Educational Supplement. 

[23] 



TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 

JUST PUBLISHED 

(See also page 4 for other recent volumes) 

Mrs Fisher, or the Future of Humour. 
By ROBERT GRAVES , author of f L-ars 
Porsena % etc. 

"Altogether it is very amusing/* Daily Mail. 
" Few volumes in tliis celebrated series have 
enjoyed a more deserved success than should 
"be achieved by Mrs Fisher. The wit and 
daring of Lavs Porsena soon took it to a fourth 
impression. Mrs Fisher is even better." 
Daily Express. 

Eutyclms, or the Future of the Pulpit. 
By WINIFRED HOLTBY. 

" Few wittier or wiser books have appeared 
in this stimulating series than Eutychus.** 
Spectator. " "Witty style, shrewd insight, 
delicious fun . * * Guardia n . 

Alma Mater, or the Future of Oxford 
and Cambridge. By JULIAN HALL. 

" Conspicuously fair/' Manchester Guard- 
ian. ft Writes about his elders, about youth, 
and about the two old "Universities with 
frankness, humour, and intelligence/' Nation. 

Automaton, or the Future of the Mech- 
anical Man. By H. STAFFORD HATFIELD. 

"It is impossible to do serious justice to 
his volume on the * Chemical Robot * in a 
brief review. It calls for a monumental -work 
of opposition." Daily Herald. 

Shiva, or the Future of India. By 

R. J. MlNNEY. 

'* A far stronger impeachment than even 
Miss Mayo attempted in Mother 1-wdia," 
Daily Dispatch. 

[24]